• Glenn Packiam

N. T. Wright to Worship Leaders Today, Pt. 1: “On Scripture in Worship”

I had the privilege recently of being in a small room in London with Prof. N. T. Wright– who, as you know, goes by ‘Tom’; but it feels too familial for me to refer to him as such. I was with about 20 other church leaders (you can see a few of them pictured: the Britt Merrick, Tim Chaddick, Dave Lomas, Jon Tyson, Brad Lomenick, etc.) for a 2 1/2 hour breakfast question and answer time. We covered a wide range of topics, but I was too busy taking notes to think about videoing any of it.

Once my head stopped spinning, I had the idea that I should ask a question that might relate to the general topic of this blog: the intersection of worship, theology, and culture. Prof. Wright had earlier made an offhanded comment about many modern worship songs being like ‘Derrida set to music’, lacking a Grand Narrative. He was reluctant to say more as he acknowledged that he doesn’t know the ‘modern worship service’ all that well, and that his personal preference is for a more classical style anyway. Nonetheless, it struck me that part of the process of embracing unity in the Church is learning to listen to people outside our particular tribe. From this perspective, it is precisely because Prof. Wright is an ‘outsider’ to our modern worship world that his thoughts may be helpful. He may see things we miss. What he chose to address was the absence of Scripture in worship:

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