On Geoff Bullock And Worship
Thanks to Duncan for linking to the Signposts discussion on Geoff Bullock’s rewriting of some of his Hillsong era worship songs (also check out Geoff’s comment on Hills’ thelogical misdirection). Geoff is now trying to reword some of those worship songs to reflect a more theologically correct view of divine grace. For example, his rewording […]
Thanks to Duncan for linking to the Signposts discussion on Geoff Bullock’s rewriting of some of his Hillsong era worship songs (also check out Geoff’s comment on Hills’ thelogical misdirection). Geoff is now trying to reword some of those worship songs to reflect a more theologically correct view of divine grace.
For example, his rewording of Have Faith In God attends to exactly the problems thoughtful Christian thinkers had with that song when it first became popular. With precision Geoff sums up this theological error we associate with Hillsong as “present(ing) human perfection as an outworking of faith.” This kind of misdirection seems to be part of the ministry of Joel Olsteen, as I commented upon earlier and which has Jason Clark has noted is now highlighted in a BBC documentary. It is worth noting the way the worship songs reinforce the theological misdirection.
I was part of the church Geoff Bullock attended after leaving Hillsong and it was certainly obvious that he was keen to move away from this misdirection. This was a very creative patch For Geoff, when he wrote a string of songs that were not only theologically meatier, but also more reflective than the typical Hillsong material. It is interesting that with this shift in emphasis also came a shift in presentation. I only ever spoke briefly with him ( a few times at church and once at a World Vision conference), but on those occasions he expressed a desire to strip back worship from the ‘concert’ idea into something more personal (he mentioned ‘in the round’ settings and we even did that a couple of times at church). What was interesing was that a smaller and less “theatrical” church gave rise to a different tone of worship and since Geoff subsequently moved to an even smaller and even less theatrical church, the change in emphasis was further cemented.
In the end we always have to embody worship (or do something with our bodies while we worship), which brings us back to a question not just about words, but about architecture. Whether we worship in a sucess-driven megachurch, or a relationally-focussed emerging church, or any of the myriad options inbetween, we are faced with decisions about how we organise our space and those may often have more impact on our theology than we might assume. In fact, I would suggest that maybe our worship influences our ideas about faith more than the other way round. Cathedrals focus us on glory and unchageability, multipurpose halls on practicality and liunge rooms on relationality and the everyday. Sure all these originally arose from an idea, but for those who first experience faith (or renewed faith) through them, they become part of the message itself.