Idolatry on Sunday Mornings [Part 2]

We gather each Sunday as the church to hear from God and worship him as he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. But we can subtly shift our worship to secondary matters like music, liturgy, or skill and end up engaging in idolatry. This is the part 2 of two episodes where David and Bob explore the different idols we can worship on Sunday mornings.

Resources in this episode:
1 Chronicles 16:11
Psalm 84:1-2
1 Corinthians 14:40
John 5:39-40
John 17:3
Luke 18:11-13
Exodus 34:6-7
Proverbs 22:1
Isaiah 66:2
Luke 7:34

Os Guinness from his book, Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

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DZ: Welcome back to the Sound Plus Doctrine Podcast. My name is David Zimmer.

BK: My name is Bob Kauflin.

DZ: And we are on part two…

BK: Yes.

DZ: Of Idolatry on Sunday Mornings.

BK: And it’s exciting to be here.

DZ: It is great to be here. Can you give us just a recap of the part one episode that we did?

BK: Maybe.


BK: We’ll find out, won’t we? Yeah. I mean, just to set it up, if you didn’t hear the first one, I would suggest you go back and listen to that. Because I think that we talk a lot about why this is an issue. Basically, it’s a problem that we can come into a Sunday gathering and think we’re worshiping God, but actually be worshiping other things. The things that we’re giving more of our affection to, more of our attention to, more of our adoration to, than God himself. So, the things we covered last time were music, musical excellence, tradition and creativity. Yeah.

DZ: Creativity, yeah.

BK: So, we got some more. Some more ways we might be deceiving ourselves.


BK: Being deceived. I don’t know how you say that. I think this is, this next one is fairly rampant in the church today. And that would be the idol of experience where we go into a meeting thinking, I need to come out of here having experienced something, something physical, something emotional. And that is, well, of course we are going to feel things when we gather. We are going to experience things when we gather. You have passages in scripture where it talks about the emotional engagement, the longing or the, seeking God’s presence 1 Chronicles 16:11 “seek the LORD in his strength, seek his presence continually.” Psalm 84:1-2. “How lovely is your dwelling place O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” So there’s an emotional engagement, there’s an experience happening, but the goal of God’s people, the goal of us worshiping together is not to feel something so much as it is to remember and to bear witness to something. And that something is the word and works and worthiness of God, especially as he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ.

DZ: Yes.

BK: When the gathering becomes more about goosebumps or heightened emotions during a meeting, God just becomes one of the options that I choose to get to that.

DZ: Wow.

BK: And that is idolatry.

DZ: Yes.

BK: I will become aware of God’s nearness as I sing with understanding, as I hear God’s Word preached. I remember numerous times where I’m sitting under the preaching of God’s Word, and it’s as though the preacher disappears. And I’m just hearing God speak and I think, Wow. And it’s an experience, but I don’t go into the meeting thinking if I don’t have an experience like that, God hasn’t been here. We did a, some episodes a while back, maybe one about experiencing God’s presence. How do we think about God’s presence in the meeting. Which I think speaks to some of those things. But I think so many times, we go into a gathering, and this is where leaders can be somewhat vague. We’re looking for something. A presence. We talk about it as the presence. And you don’t know exactly how to describe it, but you know it when it’s there. Well, that’s experiential. And while experience is a part of our encountering God and our relationship with God, it’s not all there is otherwise we wouldn’t need faith.

DZ: Yes. Right.

BK: We wouldn’t need to walk by faith. We just need to know if I’ve had an experience, God’s been here.

DZ: Well, I mean, to take a step further, I’ve had friends who are non-Christians that go to church and go, I just feel better when I leave. They know there’s gonna be joy there. People are gonna be nice. It’s like we can completely miss the opportunity for, of the life-changing, transformation of the gospel in a person’s life. If all your church or gathering is trying to do is create this feeling, is create this experience.

BK: Yeah. And that’s what makes it idolatry is that we’re pursuing that experience. So either as a leader or as someone in the congregation, I am saying, this is what matters the most that I have this experience. I mean, I have broken down at times when I’m singing songs. I remember singing, “The King in All His Beauty,” by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell, which, and I think that’s one of the guy, just incredibly beautiful song, incredibly powerful. The words, a crown made of thorns and splinters. It’s just, I was so moved by it. I don’t experience that every time I sing that song. And I don’t expect to, but I’m just seeking to think about the words, think about what this means, think about how it’s true. Think about how– the effect it has on my life.

BK: Let God worry about the experiences. I’m not trying to manipulate the music, manipulate what I say or how I’m playing, so that I create this experience for people. I want them to be focused on the truths of what we’re singing. The truths of what we’re saying. And it’s, you can say there’s a fine line. It’s not so fine line. You know, when there’s a church that says, look, we’re gonna get you to experience something regardless of what we do to get you there. It might be the video, it might be the lighting, it might be the music we’re laying down. It might be the atmosphere. It’s, we’re going to get you to that experience. Remember one church for a season was talked about, in their Sunday gatherings, getting people to the wow moments. We, this will be the wow moment. You can’t orchestrate the “wow” moments. That’s manipulation. That is human ingenuity.

DZ: Yes, it is.

BK: That’s not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us experiences. We can long for those experiences. We can pray for those experiences, but we cannot orchestrate them. We can manipulate them. We cannot bring them to pass in our own power. That’s God’s prerogative. He does it when he wants to bless us, and we thank him for it. So that’s experience. We don’t wanna idolize experience. We, I think I’ve probably said enough. I’ll just start repeating myself.


BK: Here’s another one, liturgy. And we were getting to this with traditions in the last episode. You mentioned it. Forms and practices are significant when we meet as God’s people. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, everything’s to be done decently and in order, but God has been vague, painfully so at times.


BK: It seems as to what that order actually looks like. How many songs we should sing, when we should sing them, what words we should use when we pray, when and how often we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper. And this topic is, has separated Christians over the centuries. And in some schools, some churches, it is highly significant, and during the time of Reformation, they, your liturgy was a big deal. And it does make a difference. There are, there have been church splits over liturgy, and that’s okay because some of the doctrines and truths that we cherish the most were purified through fires of conflict. So, that’s not all a bad thing. And it’s probably helpful to say that some liturgies are better than others. There are good liturgies, there are bad liturgies, liturgies that are aware of the healthy tensions of corporate worship, like transcendence and imminence, head and heart, planned and spontaneous. Those liturgies will be more biblical and effective than those that favor one side or the other. But there is no perfect liturgy. And God never intended us to say about our liturgy. That this is what gets us to God.

DZ: Yeah. We figured it out.

BK: We, among all the Christians who exist…


BK: Finally figured out the way to do it. It’s not like a secret passcode.

DZ: Yeah. And what’s wild too, to think about is how culture is factored into liturgy.

BK: How so?

DZ: Like what might work for your church in the Midwest might look different for someone on the East coast or in China or in Africa or the UK. And some churches don’t even have a “liturgy” but they still follow a structure every single week.

BK: They do have a liturgy, yeah.

DZ: And that is their liturgy. So it’s, I mean, when you say that there is no perfect liturgy, it’s because that hasn’t been laid out. That’s what you just said. It hasn’t been laid out for us in Scripture.

BK: Yeah. And we can, I remember, I think it’s in Sovereign Grace. We, I grew up Catholic and was involved in a very strict liturgy every Sunday, looked pretty much the same every week than Vatican II happened in the late ’60s. And things changed up. I thought, this is great, this is so much better. And I think it probably was better, but after I came to the Lord I… And had been a Christian for some time, I just kind of bristled at the idea of liturgy.

DZ: It brought you back to being a Catholic.

BK: Yes. And not really thinking about what was going on. And I think in the early years of Sovereign Grace, I thought, man, we’re free from that.


BK: We’re free church, we can do whatever. But then you turned around and you look at what you’re doing over the last 10 years and you realize you were doing the exact same thing every, every Sunday. You got starting with two fast songs, you got a medium song.


BK: You got two slow songs. And then you… And that all that takes about 40 minutes because you got, spiritual gifts happening in there. And then you got your welcoming visitors and the offering, and you got the announcements, and then you have the sermon, which could go to an hour, and then you have another song. And then time of ministry. We do that every Sunday.

DZ: Yeah.


BK: For years. We don’t have a liturgy. No, sir. But we do, and the better question to ask, whether I have a liturgy or not is, is, do you have a good liturgy? Realizing there’s no perfect liturgy. And that, that’s where the idolatry comes in. We don’t wanna be so confident in the way we structured our meeting that we think this cannot be improved upon. Or we don’t need the finished work of Christ to make this acceptable to God. That’s what will keep us in a safe place. All right. Next one, and this is a kind of weird one, for an idolatry on Sunday morning doctrinal or biblical knowledge. Can that be a problem?


BK: Well, yes. Because I don’t know how many churches, I don’t know if the majority of churches would be in danger of this, but it is possible to wrongly pursue doctrinal knowledge that is distinct from a knowledge of God himself have to acknowledge that possibility, or we can fall into the error of the Pharisees who took more pride in their rightness than they did in their relationship with God. Yes. So that, that’s what Jesus was getting at in John 5:39-40 when he said, “you search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” And I’ve seen this, I’ve seen evidences of myself at times where we are more impressed with our accurate theology in our preaching, in our songs, than the fact that God has shown mercy to us in Jesus Christ.

BK: Doctrine in theology humbly studied and applied always leads to humility. Always lead to the fear of God, always lead to the love of others. Always lead to honoring him more, not less loving him, more not less. And that’s why Jesus rebuke the Pharisees for a knowledge of scripture that didn’t lead to him. Is the knowledge of Scripture bad? Oh my goodness. No, just listen to the episode we did with Jeff Purswell on the Word of God.

DZ: Yes.

BK: In our, in our gatherings. I mean, it’s, it’s life to us. But that life points us it, the written Word us to the Living Word. Jesus Christ. And it’s our relationship with him that we feast on, that we enjoy that, that we experience when we gather not just being impressed with how much we know and how right we are.

DZ: Right

BK: Because that attitude can also be a real turnoff to people who come to our gatherings and hear the words of life, hear the words of truth, but they’re so just… What’s the word I’m looking for? They don’t like the attitude that it’s being brought with. It’s proud, it’s arrogant, it’s demeaning. And…

DZ: It can be knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

BK: Yes!

DZ: Instead of pointing you to Christ. So my question is, not to take too much time here, but I just, I see this a lot. How, if you’re listening to this podcast and you go, I feel like my church might be like that, or I feel like I, I’m in that context, we value the Word, we love the Word we’re saying that, but what, or how, and they feel like I wanna change, maybe, what do I do to bring that to from my head to my heart? What would you say to them? How would you encourage them?

BK: How can the person themself change?

DZ: Yeah. Yeah. Or I feel like I’m in this context, how do I process this in this context?

BK: Yeah. Those are two different questions. So the first one, “how do I change?” First the recognition that that might be a problem, is a great start. I mean, the Holy Spirit showed you that. That I might be valuing my knowledge about God more than I value knowing him. I mean, Jesus said in John 17:3, “eternal life is this, knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ, the one he has sent,” not knowing about the only true God. So, I’d probably examine my Bible reading habits and what it produces in me. I like to, when I think of spending time with the Lord, I like to think of a plan, a place, and a purpose. I know what I’m gonna do when I sit down. I have a place to do it. And then the purpose is to know the Lord better. Is to have my life revealed before him as I read. I’ve just found that helpful for years as I think about my own devotional time with the Lord. So I would examine that, do I read my Bible just so I can tell people what I read? Or do I read my Bible just so I can feel good? I’ve got it in. I mean, I used to feel like that. My day would go better because I read my Bible. Well, like, does God leave you because you didn’t read your Bible?


BK: Is he no longer faithful?


BK: Because you didn’t… No. You’re unfaithful. He’s still faithful.

DZ: Yes.

BK: So, why do I read my Bible? What kind of fruit does it produce? What kinds of things am I seeing? Oh, I just noticed that there are 13 men in this list in the genealogy here, and that’s… So, that maps onto, or whatever. That’s great.


BK: That’s excited that you’re excited, but does that do anything to your heart? And discoveries like that, not to minimize that, discoveries like the names and the genealogies can make us aware that God cares about every individual. That those names are in the eternal word of God. He didn’t leave them out. And that can tell you something about God’s character. God’s heart. So is that where my mind goes, or does it just go to, “Wow, I know more than I used to. I feel so good about myself.”

DZ: Yeah. Well, and then in your gatherings, when you’re approaching your gathering, it should be sort of the, like the parable that Jesus spoke of the two men that are in the gathering, the one that says, wow, I’m so happy I’m not like him.

BK: Oh, yes. Yes.

DZ: And the other that says, woe is me. And which one walked away? Yeah. Yeah. And I think having the second approach of saying, God, you’ve had mercy on me. I wouldn’t know you unless you revealed your truth to me. That should bring, that humility you’re talking about brings joy and it brings a level playing field.

BK: Yeah. It’s Luke 18, I think it’s… Sorry, I need to put on my glasses here, 11. “The Pharisee standing by himself prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get,’” And could be added. “And I’ve memorized the whole chapter of Ephesians, or I know the whole Westminster Catechism,” Whatever, “But the tax collector standing far off would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” And it… A true engagement with God’s word, is gonna make us aware of God’s greatness and goodness.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Our sin and unworthiness. And God’s mercy and compassion to us in Christ. And that’s gonna make us wanna know more.

DZ: Yes.

BK: But that’ll be for the right reason. So I was gonna get to that where… Get to that place where, from your devotions, then you go to your gathering, why are you taking notes?

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Are you taking notes? I would encourage you to take notes. I’ve been taking notes for decades. It’s just, it’s so helpful.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: On a Sunday. Why are you doing that? Is it, yeah just so I’m taking notes. Hey, everybody, look at me. Click, click, click, click, click, click. I’m taking notes. Or is it, I just need to… I need this, I need to know God better, and hear as God’s Word being preached to me.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: So yeah, just measure your heart, what’s the result of the messages you hear?

DZ: Yes.

BK: Do you brag about how much you know? Is that a source of pride for you, or is it a humbling thing? That, wow I didn’t know that or I’m not applying this and Lord, help me by your Spirit I wanna honor you.

DZ: Yeah, exactly.

BK: So that’s… I think that’s a great question. As far as changing your church, if you recognize your church is like this, I would just seek to be an example. I would just seek to talk about the things that indicate you are loving God’s Word for the fruit it produces in your life.

DZ: Yes.

BK: For that… Talk about the character of God, what this reveals about the heart of God. This verse, this passage, this Bible study, a lot of churches are committed to Bible study, which is great. We should be studying the Bible, but we can do it in such a way that that just becomes the aim.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: I’m just gonna study the Bible. Hey, I’m part of three Bible studies. How ‘bout you?

DZ: Right.

BK: Oh, I have I’m just one. I feel like such a loser of a Christian. No, you might be getting a lot more out of that one Bible study than someone who’s doing three.

DZ: Yes.

BK: I don’t know. Bible studies are good, but if we’re not applying it, and if it’s not drawing us to know God and Jesus Christ better, then they might… They’re serving the wrong purpose.

DZ: That’s great, Bob.

BK: So that’s doctrinal… What do we call it? Doctrinal knowledge. Here’s another idol, which is on the other side, and that’s doctrinal ignorance. [laughter]

DZ: Yes. It should be mentioned.

BK: Biblical ignorance. We can think that… I’ve heard this said before, words get in the way of worship. And again, I commend the podcast we did with Jeff Purswell on how the word of God functions in our gatherings, ’cause oh man, what he said there, the thoughts he shared were just so helpful. But we can pride ourselves on coming up with cooler stuff than the Bible, or more relevant stuff, or more creative stuff. And we don’t value God’s Word as the controlling influence and the primary substance of our worship.

DZ: Yes.

BK: And when we don’t do that, other things rush into fill its place. But we think this is great, we can do these things. And the Bible’s in there, of course we have a Bible we use it occasionally and… But that’s not how God gave us his Word. And he gave it to us as a means not just of information, but communication and relationship, he wants to have a relationship with us through his Word, all throughout scripture, you see God relating to us through his word, one of the primary examples being, Exodus 34, where God causes his goodness, his glory to pass before Moses.

DZ: Yes.

BK: And instead of just giving him an experience he says things.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And it is… He says a lot and you just think, wow, okay maybe the Lord… Maybe the Word’s important. Moses didn’t say, oh God, stop so many words. so many words, “the LORD, the LORD a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” It’s a lot of words. God had the 10 commandments, the two tablets of Moses put in the ark in the tabernacle. He wants his Word at the center of what we do. So, again, I commend that other podcast we did with Jeff to you, it is the… It’s important that we keep God’s Word at the center of our gatherings, and we not take pride in the fact that yeah we just kinda refer to the Scripture casually, it’s good, but not as good as what we have. No, that is idolizing doctrinal ignorance, and we sure don’t wanna do that.

DZ: Right.

BK: So here’s the question. I got three more.

DZ: Great.

BK: Do we got time for ’em?

DZ: Yes.

BK: Okay. We’re gonna go into them then.

DZ: Great.

BK: These would be more for leaders and there’s a little bit of crossover here, but I wanted to speak to leaders specifically.

DZ: Yeah great.

BK: And talk about things we can idolize that maybe the people in our congregation might not be tempted by.

DZ: Yes.

BK: The first… They all begin with R the first it would be Results. And I would be referring to the mindset that says, worshiping God is a means to attaining a more desirable end. Like more people, like evangelism, which is a good thing. Like mutual ministry. Like we get together and we just minister to each other and which we’re supposed to do or individual experiences, some other end other than bringing glory to God, for all he is, for all he said, for all he’s done.

DZ: Yes.

BK: It could be revealed in topics like this. We don’t talk about certain things and we… It can be revealed in comments like this. We don’t talk about certain topics because people just don’t want to hear them. We want a lot of people to come, So we’re not gonna say what the Bible says about this. Leaders have skirted significant issues, abortion, homosexuality, purity, different things said, “well, we’re just not sure, we’re not sure.” Because they’re not popular.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: No. We can’t change God’s word to achieve other results. The result is submitting to God, submitting to his Word, bringing him glory.

DZ: Yes.

BK: It could be a comment like, energetic meetings keep people coming back.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Not everything about the Christian life or the Christian gathering is energetic and exciting. There are times when we’re lamenting, there are times when we’re confessing sin. There are times when we’re standing in reverence in awe. Maybe it was… Didn’t seem like God really showed up this morning ’cause we just… We sang, shared the Lord’s Supper, prayed, preached, nothing happened. [laughter] What?

DZ: Wait a minute. You did all the things he asked you to?

BK: Yes. Oh dude nothing happened. Or maybe… We want everyone here to receive a touch from God this morning. What does that mean?

DZ: Yeah.

BK: A touch from God may… A touch from God might be conviction. A touch from God might be just recognizing I need God. It might just be standing there, sitting there in faith, recognizing that I’m not feeling anything right now, but I know these things are true and that’s why I’m here. And I’m with God’s people and that’s why I’m here.

DZ: And I think if you’re chasing results so much, you’re putting such a heavy burden on yourself.

BK: Absolutely.

DZ: Well, all of these things, all of these idols are worthless. [laughter]

BK: Idols do not deliver.

DZ: They don’t.

BK: They are vain pursuit.

DZ: Yes. Exactly.

BK: I’m gonna look back here for a scripture that I had earlier on about idols. I don’t know if I’ll find it or not. They just don’t deliver what they say they’re gonna deliver. And they never do. They never will. They’re vain. And so… Yeah. When you talk about the burden, so many pastors, so many leaders talk about the burden of leadership. There are burdens to leadership. People are going to slander you. People are going to oppose you. People aren’t gonna do what they’re supposed to do, what you’ve asked them to do, what you’ve expected them to do, what you’ve taught them to do. Those are burdens. But the burden isn’t doing what God has called us to do. That’s a joy. That’s our bread. Jesus said, my food is to do the will of him who sent me. And if we are doing what God has commanded us to do, gifted us to do in the power that he’s given us to do it… There shouldn’t be so many leaders burning out. Because when we serve God, he gives us grace for what he’s called us to do. When we serve idols, we don’t get grace.

DZ: No.

BK: If we’re serving the idol of results, we’re not gonna have grace for that.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And we’re gonna feel a lot of pressure.

DZ: That’s excellent. What’s your second R?

BK: Second is reputation. A good reputation is to be pursued. Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches and favor is better than silver or gold” That means God wants us to have a good reputation. He wants us to be known for godliness, integrity, faithfulness. But I’m never to seek my good name at the expense of God’s name. And leaders do this.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: I’m never to be more concerned about my reputation than God’s. And this is subtle because the idol of reputation masquerades behind holy acts.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: But it reveals itself in unholy thoughts or responses. And it’s sad and it’s sobering. And it’s scary that I can be in the act of worshiping God in the gathering, hoping that I will look better in other people’s eyes. Musicians can do this, preachers can do this. I’ve done this. And it’s convicting to remember the times when I’ve stood in front of people leading them either preaching or playing, singing and been wondering, I wonder what they’re thinking of me.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: I wonder if that went over. I wonder if I have them right now. I wonder if they think that’s effective. And it’s especially revealed in the comments afterwards if someone says, “yeah, that didn’t go so well.” How do I respond? [laughter] “The meeting was going great until you got up and said something” [laughter]

DZ: Ouch.

BK: I’m sorry. Yeah. Well if I’m worshiping my reputation and not Jesus’ reputation, which is what he wants us to do, that’s idolatry. That’s what’s gonna happen. And while musicians and pastors are no more sinful than anyone else, we do have particular temptations that we need to be aware of.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: We are in front of people most of the time, and we can be tempted to steal the glory from God.

DZ: Yes.

BK: And as a leader, I never want people to be confused about whose glory I’m up there for.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And it won’t only be shown in what I’m doing in front of people. It’ll be shown in the way I act outside of the platform. Outside of being in front of people. What do people see there? Do they see me as someone who just deserves special treatment? Who… The whole… The green room mentality where I’m in front of people for… To do God’s work. But then as soon as I’m off, I’m in the green room. I’m just… And then you don’t even have to have a green room to have this mentality [laughter] It’s just… Could be a red room, could be a brown room, but it’s just, I want to get away from people and I don’t really wanna serve them because I’ve done my job and I gotta protect my reputation and I just wanna be self-centered right now. And that’s okay. If that’s okay with you, it’s okay with me. It’s the idol of reputation.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Which God is against. He says in Isaiah 66:2, “This is the one to whom I will look, he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word”.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And there have been numerous illustrations of leaders who have seemingly been doing great things for God, and then found to be, actually, doing what they’re doing for their reputation. And they will be found out. God will find that out because He cares about His church. He cares about His people. Final one, relevance. Churches can be irrelevant for any number of reasons. Spiritual pride can keep us from considering that non-Christians may not understand our highly developed Christian speak. Our Christianese. Administrative incompetence might make it hard for people to find us or to enjoy being with us once they do [laughter] we can think we’re in the world, not of the world that can result in a narrow interpretation that, just makes it hard for people to relate to us. So, not talking about being so unrelatable to the culture that no one can even identify with you.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: But there is an idol of relevance that’s rooted in the thought that people may not like us because we seem different from them.

DZ: Yeah. We talk a lot about that, Bob, when we’re talking about the aspect of, “cool,” what’s relevant is what’s cool.

BK: Yes.

DZ: And it’s like, is that what we are chasing?

BK: Yeah. And you can tell I think, it’s not wrong to be relevant, appreciate, speakers, musicians who know, have an understanding of what’s happening in the culture. Try to keep up on what the culture’s doing, but to use that in such a way that it makes us feel like we’re more accepted.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: Or we’re more looked up to, that’s idolatry. It should be a means of saying, look, I understand what is happening in the culture here, but this is what God says.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: This is what God has said about that.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And too often we don’t make that distinction and we become, people who are just trying to look like we’re in the world and a little bit of the world. Which is not what God tells us to be. And this quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones, where he addresses the desire of preachers to be relevant, applies to musicians as well. “Our Lord attracted sinners because he was different. They drew near to him because they felt that there was something different about him. That poor sinful woman of whom we read in Luke’s 7 did not draw near to the Pharisees and wash their feet with her tears and wipe them with the hair of her head. No. She sensed something in our Lord, His purity, His holiness, His love. And so she drew near to him. It was His essential difference that attracted her. And the world always expects us to be different. This idea that you’re gonna win people to the Christian faith by showing them that after all you are remarkably like them, is theologically and psychologically a profound blunder.” [laughter] This is so good and it’s so true. We are related to sinners because Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for us.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: And we needed him to do that. He hung around the low lives of His day, the people of his culture, enough to be accused of engaging in their sins. Luke 7:34. But He never gave the impression that he approved of them.

DZ: Yeah.

BK: That he was like them, that he was immersed them, and he didn’t go to parties to prove that he was like everyone else. They knew he was different. And I could provide a number of church websites and I don’t want to, don’t need to, that illustrate exactly what we’re talking about. Pursuing the idol of relevance. Wanna finish with this quote from Os Guinness from his book, Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance, he says, “by our breathless chase, after relevance, without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we’ve become not only unfaithful but irrelevant.

DZ: Both?

BK: Yeah. “By our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ. We have lost not only our identity, but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant.”

DZ: Excellent.

BK: Now, I would say that we have been guilty of all these… Following all these idols at different times. And we thank God for a Savior who has come to us in our sin, in our weakness, taken on, become like us in every way, in every respect but sin.

DZ: Yes.

BK: So that we might come to the Father through Him to receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. So if you’ve been convicted of these, there is great hope and the conviction is a step towards change.

DZ: Yes.

BK: Because God intends for us to worship Him the way he enabled us to worship Him in spirit and truth through the spirit of God in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to worship idols in our meetings. We can worship Jesus Christ, the Son of God for the glory of God in the power of the Spirit, given us… Having received the tools that God has given us to do that. His Word, the gospel, His Spirit in the community of His people. We can do that with great joy. And we don’t have to bow down to any of these idols. Praise God.

BK: Yes. Excellent.

BK: So let’s gather with that mentality.

DZ: It’s excellent.

BK: Sorry. I get excited.

DZ: Thank you Bob. Thank you so much for walking us through these points and…

BK: Oh, it’s a joy.

DZ: It’s been wonderful. I can’t believe we got it into two episodes.

BK: We did.


DZ: So thank you so much. And for all of you who are listening or watching on YouTube, it’s just… It’s a joy to do this and we hope it serves you. So thank you for listening.

BK: Yes.

DZ: And thank you for tuning in.

BK: Amen.