Saturday, November 19, 2005

Proved Wrong ... Again!!

*UPDATE - Monday 28th November* Oops I spoke too soon. Kauflin has indeed coigned the phrase ... and it's "God is not my GIRLFRIEND" not "Boyfriend"!!! -

It's interesting that he mentions C J Mahaney's literal interpretation of the Song of Solomon in his book; "Sex, Romance and the Glory of God" - maybe that is where his discomfort comes from the level of intimacy in these sorts of songs? I don't know. But I have a real problem with Mahaney's interpretation. The Puritan and traditional view of interpreting this beautiful book was that it primarily is a picture of the relationship between God and His Bride - the Church, not - as Mahaney tries to argue - a textbook for husband and wife. I tend towards the Puritan view. It seems far more beautiful and precious ... and surely at the end of the day the idea of marriage was intended as a SYMBOL of something ... oh! Christ and His Bride. I don't have a problem with Song of Solomon being used as Mahaney suggests, but I do think the Puritan view should come first. I can see where Kauflin is coming from. Yes we must beware of over-familiarity because God is God. But as I go on to argue ... to me "Abba Father" is far more intimate than "God is my girlfriend!". It's a beautiful, intimate, Spirit-filled cry of love and childlike adoration coming from the Holy Spirit Himself!! That's what I long for in the lingering notes of 'those' songs of worship.

*Further Update - Wednesday 30th November*.

The case against Mahaney's odd view on the Song of Solomon continues to grow in my opinion. I found a comment by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his small paperback book; "A Superabundance of Blessing". The Doctor said quite clearly;

"The Song of Solomon is undoubtedly a picture and a prophecy of the relationship between Christ and his church. Written in a poetic, dramatic form, it is a perfect representation of the church as the bride of Christ. This is a New Testament term but the Song of Solomon sees it long before it came to pass".

So Doctor Lloyd-Jones joins the heavyweights of authorities standing against Mahaney on this matter. I really would be intrigued to know where he came to that conclusion. Did Jeff Purswell persuade him? Who knows. Heh heh.

*Update Ends*.

And I love it. There's nothing more humiliating than it, and its something I need, as I am the proudest human being to walk the face of this earth ... I must be ... because God allows THE most humilitating things to happen to me!! But this entry isn't about a list of those things ... It's to do with Worship. My family know the sorts of subjects that I bristle, hackle and snarl at certain subjects usually to do with the Holy Spirit, and worship if I feel they are under attack. As they are still involved in SGM, I heard by way of conversation that there is a phrase floating round the SGM ranks that 'they' don't like ... it's "God isn't my boyfriend". Basically I think it means that they are cautious and wary of over-familiarity in times of celebration and worship on Sundays. That got me listening, because of my pre-conceptions already with where I think SGM are going, so I tracked down Bob Kauflin, who is the 'Worship Director' of SGM. And I found that he blogs!!

But far from finding a distrust and a dislike of emotion and affection, I found a really well-balanced growing list of blog entries that give a great insight into worship. Best of all I found a GREAT definition of worship and an exposition of that, showing that Kauflin is not only a great worship leader, but also a teacher and expositor. Here's how he defines worship:

I’d like to unpack one more definition of worship today, keeping in mind that we’ll never exhaust the meaning and wonder of worshipping our Creator and Redeemer, even in eternity.
"Biblical worship is God’s covenant people recognizing, reveling in, and responding rightly to the glory of God in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit."

Biblical worship…to separate what we do as Christians from all other types of worship. This also implies that God is the One who determines how we should worship Him. (Jn. 4:23-24)
Is God’s covenant people…God’s plan from the beginning of creation has been to redeem a people for his own possession who would give him glory endlessly. The basis of our relationship with Him is His unchanging character, His unfailing love, and His unrepeatable sacrifice for our sins. (Ex. 19:5-6; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; Rev. 5:9-10)

Recognizing...This implies mental awareness and perception, as opposed to a highly individualized emotional encounter. (Ex. 34:6-7, Jer. 9:23-24)

Reveling in…One of the definitions for “revel” is “to get great pleasure from.” It is in that sense that we “revel” in God’s glory in Christ. When we find our highest joy, pleasure, satisfaction, and good in knowing God, we are worshipping Him. Although worshipping God involves more than our emotions, it doesn't involve less. (Ps. 32:11, 37:4; 1 Pet. 1:8-9)

And responding rightly…There are countless wrong ways to respond to God, including ungratefulness, anger, and idolatry. Our right responses include both adoration and action, both what we do in specific meetings as well as in all of life. (Rom. 12:1-2; Heb. 10:24-25; Heb. 13:15-16)

To God’s glory in Christ…We have been saved to see that God’s glory has been most clearly revealed in the person and work of His Son. (2 Cor. 4:6) This is a precious truth that we must proclaim and protect. (Heb. 1:1-3)

In the power of the Holy Spirit…While they may disagree on the application, Charismatics and cessationists can both affirm that the worship of God is impossible apart from the power of God’s Spirit. (John 4:23-24; Eph. 2:18)".

Wrong again Bowen!! Ha ha ... great stuff. Although for the record it doesn't mean I've suddenly joined the universal SGM fan club. I do have deep suspicions about what is going on in their ranks. One of my chief interests is the fact that they seem to be trying to follow a Third Wave track of theology ... in terms of shying away from the baptism of the Holy Spirit or any such emphasis dealing with initiation and focusing more on the gifts of the Spirit ... and yet they couldn't be more different from the classic Vineyard Third Wave church which absolutely DO cherish and focus on affections in worship ... just where SGM are reigning caution.

I still wonder ... are they trying to be all things to all men and failing?


Bob Kauflin said...

Dear Baxter's Boy,

Thanks for the encouraging comments on the worshipmatters blog. I pray that it will continue to encourage you.

I wanted to let you know, if you don't already, that you can check out the Sovereign Grace website ( to hear three messages from the Leader's Conference on the Holy Spirit.

I'm not sure why you have "deep suspicions" about what's going on in our ranks, but if you have concerns, please feel free to contact us, and please pray for us! Our desire is to plant and support chuches that agressively pursue a devotion to God's Word and the active presence of His Spirit, all for the glory of our Savior. We know there are others who are doing it better than we are, but are grateful for whatever part God allows us to play.

Grace to you in our Savior,

Bob Kauflin

Baxter's Boy said...

Thanks for your comment Bob. Your humility as ever continues to astound and humble me in turn. The point must be made that I have never questioned the "motives" of anyone - especially of your leadership team. I have no doubt whatsoever that all are absolutely desirous of the utmost in serving God.

My 'deep suspicions' stem simply from some unfortunate experiences at the church in Bristol that are now in the past. However my family are still involved so I stand as a bystander and a concerned observer. That's all.

But I do hope that the overriding impression from my comments were how blessed I was by your website and above all your outstanding example of a worship leader who is 'sold out' on our glorious God and His Christ.

And for that I sincerely thank you.

Don said...

I remember the husband-wife view of SoS being taught quite plainly at CLC in the 90s, along with some convincing background readings. However, I've read other interpretations and my own experience with the Spirit leads me to believe there is more than one interpretation.

One of the problems of being a hard-core Reformed person is that one can easily forget the 1,500 years of Church history and experience with the Holy Spirit of Jesus that occurred prior to Luther's break. Bernard of Clairvaux preached over 50 sermons to his monks on the Song, and they were *not* focused on husband-wife interpretation, but rather on the experience of the Spirit of Jesus in meditative, contemplative prayer.

The Church Father, Origen, preached on the Song and included these remarks:
"Then she [the Bride in the Song of Songs] looks longingly for the Bridegroom who has shown himself and then disappeared. This happens often throughout the Song of Songs and can be understood by anyone who has experienced it himself. Often, as God is my witness, I have felt that the Bridegroom was drawing near to me and was as close to me as possible. Then all of a sudden he has gone away and I have not been able to find the object of my search. Once again I hae begun to desire his coming and sometimes he returns. and when he appears to me and I am holding him with my hands, once more he escapes me, and when he has vanished I begin to seek him again. This happens often until I hold him truly and arise, leaning on my beloved." -- quoted on p.189 in The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Oliver Clement, New City Press, 1995.

Most Western Christians today don't even know that our heritage includes the possibility of intimate fellowship with the Spirit, during which He can come close, overpower us with His presence, deposit blessings and peace, lift hurts, and generally restore our souls.

Then as suddenly as He arrives, He departs, leaving us feeling deflated and longing for the sweet perfume of His presence again. It is this presence that has always kept people experiencing corporate revival in the meetings for hours -- even days -- at a time. Heaven opens above you, you taste the sweetness and peace of His presence, "and the things of Earth...grow strangly dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

And what about these hymn lines: "And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known." That's Song of Songs talk, but since few have had the experience, few recognize what's being described.

lydia joy said...

Dan, I don't know if you will get this comment, but I had to say how intrigued I was by this post.....and Don's comment was astounding to me!!
I am reading through your archives and enjoying them......your posts really spark curiosity in me and I am amazed by your forthright honest way of putting things......

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks Lydia! Yes I get comments through my email. I am really pleased and excited that stuff I wrote in the past is interesting and enjoyable for you! It was quite good for me to read the Bob Kauflin post again. This was the first time I had visited Bob Kaulfin's website and I enjoyed what I read.

But I must say I have got progressively sadder about reading the "Worship Matters" blog. The conservative Reformed emphasis is growing and the downgrading of the Holy Spirit's work and Presence and ministry.

Thanks for your encouragment! I really appreciate your comments and your visiting the blog! :)

jul said...

well waddayano, i'm reading the old archives again too, and very amused i am at my old sgm cookie cutter comments! thank god a million times over for his grace!