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When I say “interpretive movement,” or “human video,” this is what I mean:
In order to reveal God’s glory instead of hiding it, here are some suggestions for when and where to use interpretive movement.
Interpretive Movement should be used…
1. As an act of worship in the area of common grace. In other words, whenever a Christian uses their natural gifts excellently in the arts outside the church, in light of their trust in the finished work of Christ alone, they bring honor and glory to God. This however does not mean that I should use my natural gifts in corporate worship while claiming it honors God. Corporate worship is a time for special revelation, not common revelation (common revelation that is used in corporate worship is always qualified in light of special revelation). Special revelation is what only Christians possess in the Scriptures; while common revelation is what every human being on earth possesses because they live in God’s world. If I’m good at wood working, should I bring my tools to church and work some wood during a worship service while everyone watches? I have biblical warrant for this in the world, but not in corporate worship (unless it’s an illustration that communicates truth; see below).
2. In evangelistic efforts outside of corporate worship. We are free in Christ to use whatever does not violate our consciences or the Scriptures in our evangelistic efforts. The gospel must be given, but we are free to use the arts to peak the interest of our hearers. We are literally free to use anything in the realm of common grace to peak the interest of our hearers. The truth however must be the emphasis. Just as Paul pointed to truth in pagan poetry, we too can point to God being the source of our natural abilities or the natural abilities of the lost.
Interpretive Movement Should NOT be used…
1. As an act of corporate worship. Acts of worship must have biblical warrant! There is not one example in Scripture where interpretive movement was used as an act of worship. So, when you say, “I believe interpretive movement is an act of worship to God,” you are merely sharing your opinion. If the Bible is not our authority on acts of worship to God, then anything and everything can be used as an act of worship. If I want to have “Johnny Carson” worship day, where we all dress up like Johnny Carson, and worship the Lord, I can do that and argue that God is cool with it. If I want to roll around and bark like a dog during worship, I can do that. Literally, anything is ok if I get to determine what correct worship is, and the Bible does not.
2. As an act of communication. I affirm a loose regulative principle. I am ok with drama in worship, not because it is a primary act of worship, but rather because it is a secondary act of worship that communicates truth. If I can use an illustration in a sermon, then an illustration can be presented in the worship service. Interpretive movement however communicates nothing. Much of what I’ve seen is a bunch of people getting on stage, and moving their bodies around to some song. They literally add nothing to the song at all; the song could have been played without them, and just as much truth would have been conveyed. If the interpretive movement doesn’t communicate truth, and it is not an act of worship to God in and of itself, what is the purpose? The goal of worship is not to have or induce warm and fuzzy feelings. The goal of worship is to exalt Christ.
3. As an act of pointing people to the cross. Many times, interpretive movement, because it does not communicate anything in and of itself and does not point toward any truth, is just a distraction. If any aspect of an element of worship can be removed, and it still be an act of worship, then the aspect is just a distraction. I’m fine with interpretive movement if it interprets something. If there aren’t any people in the service that can read sign language, then what are you signing for? The only thing you’re left with is a performance; and corporate worship is not a place to praise men. God will share His glory with no one.
4. As a means of getting people “involved in worship.” People are involved in worship when they sing, give, pray, and sit under the preached Word. So, everyone that participates, whether in the pew or on the stage, is participating in worship. If you think people must be on stage to participate, then you do not understand biblical corporate worship. We must teach our congregations that worship takes place in both the pew and the stage from the beginning of corporate worship to the end. Joyfully hearing the Word is just as much an act of worship as joyfully preaching the Word.
5. As a means of accommodation. Pastors, you are the worship leaders of your congregations. Everything that is done in the worship service either reveals God’s glory in Christ or hides it. If you allow elements to be used in worship without biblical warrant, then you open the door for popish arrogance. Don’t be surprised if little popes are running around your congregations if you don’t believe worship must have biblical warrant, because you have taught them that they do not need textual warrant in order to claim that something honors God.
What are your thoughts about interpretive movement and human videos?