C.S. Lewis versus Perry Noble

C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcom on worship services:

The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.

But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is different thing from worshiping. …

There is really some excuse for the man who said, “I wish they’d remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks.” …

I can make do with almost any kind of service whatever, if only it will stay put. But if each form is snatched away just when I am beginning to feel at home in it, then I can never make any progress in the art of worship.

Perry Noble in a recent blog post:

You see, when we first began NewSpring Church we were all about not being “traditional.” We were going to “break the mold.” We used phrases like “taking EXTREME risks” and “not afraid to die” quite often around here.

But here we are eight and a half years later and I am finding myself in quite a pinch because…

The traditions that we are now having to attack are the ones that I helped to develop. The ideas that we are now calling “outdated” are the ones that were once a brand new thought in my mind.

Honestly, there are times when I have been in a meeting and have wanted to halt the conversation because, well, to be honest, I didn’t like what was being discussed. It was tearing away at what I had shed hours of blood, sweat and tears over…but…God has been slowly showing me that I must celebrate the songs that we’ve sang…but I must always be open to the fact that He wants to do new things.

Who’s right? I happen to think both of them are and I happen to think both of them would agree. If you know Perry Noble you can ask him. I don’t think you can ask C.S. Lewis.

I think Lewis and Noble would both acknowledge that their preferred way of “doing church” is not right for everyone. Despite Lewis’ extraordinary intellect and lifetime of achievements and Noble’s astonishing success as a church planter, I don’t see either man as arrogant enough to believe their way is always right for everyone in every situation.

What should this tell new church leaders coming up? Don’t copy the hip, edgy church plant in California or the successful, traditional church down the street. Ask God to show you the way He wants to be worshiped in the church He grows where you are at. It may be a C.S. Lewis church. It may be a Perry Noble church. It may be somewhere in between, but as long as it is a Jesus church the methodology will be right.

1 Comment

  1. Or better yet, read Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together” and think about doing church that way.

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Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.