Spiritual Anorexia: How Contemporary Worship Is Starving the Church


If your reaction to the title is "Another book on music," you will have proven the author's point. Erlandson delineates several aspects of 'contemporary worship' which fall short of the Biblical standard. Music is simply one of the aspects. And for that matter, neither does he argue decisively about a particular "style.

That fact alone is highly telling. He then rightly takes issue with church music being essentially a mini-concert which in a dozen ways discourages congregation participation. If the congregation cannot participate because the songs are too elaborately arranged, or don't participate because there is no formal call to worship an issue Erlandson returns to frequently , the music simply becomes a mini-concert where the congregants are entertained by professional musicians.

After all, the praise band is right up front and center-stage as the main attraction. This is about all Erlandson has to say about music, except that many of the songs, if not in outright theological error, are inane, vapid and repetitive. The author then moves on through several aspects of the "contemporary" worship service. He does an excellent job demonstrating the messages being sent by the presence or absence of certain features.

Highlights of these chapters are the discussions on confession of sin and the Lord's Table. Erlandson points out how all through the Scriptures, public confession of sin formed an integral part of the church's corporate worship. This is noticeably absent from the modern contemporary service - as is virtually every reference to sin. Jesus is no longer the Mediator between sinners and a justly offended God, He is merely the great Problem-Solver who helps you overcome your spending problems or eating disorder.

How are folks to feel gratitude to God for salvation, issuing forth in grateful obedience, if they never acknowledge their sins? Modern trends in preaching exacerbate the problem. The minister, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt walks around with a headset like some kind of motivational speaker who has no real authority as an expounder of God's Word.

Gone is the pulpit, that creates at least some semblance of respectability, and gone is the liturgical gown, or at least the respectable suit. These things send a message - and it is a bad one at that. Then Erlandson looks at how the Lord's Supper is handled in many a contemporary service. Often there is no advanced notice regarding Communion, so there is no time for reflection, meditation and confession. By treating Communion in this way, it appears as little more than an impromptu add-on to the service which has no direct connection to anything else which might have occurred.

Herein lies one of Erlandson's best and most subtle points. The whole of the service, if it is to rise to the level of true worship, is to be an integrated whole, not a disjointed hodge-podge of unrelated parts.

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There is a lot to like about this book and any minister would benefit from having read it. Feb 17, Josh Miller rated it liked it. This was an intriguing book. I was first drawn to the book due to the title and I immediately thought of the contemporary music that is pervading many of our churches today. However, the author has much more in mind than music.

Doug Erlandson the author draws on his ten years of attending a church with a contemporary style of service.

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Music was just a small part of t This was an intriguing book. Music was just a small part of the overall thesis of the book. For instance, one of the chapters is titled "The Eclipse of Prayer and Confession. Even prayers that are offered are short and trite. He continues on that there is very rarely a time allowed for people to confess their sins either at an altar call or during the Lord's Supper. In this chapter he bemoans the casual view of sin and its consequences.

Here is a quote - "Sin isn't bad because it leads to negative consequences. Sin is heinous because it is an affront to the holy majesty of Almighty God.

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He brought out a good, Biblical point in that this was done in Bible times. He also called for a return to the quoting of Christian creeds and lays out a convincing argument although not necessarily Biblical why creeds should be brought back to our services.

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Chapter Eight, entitled "Preach the Gospel. Most of the messages have to do with helping the Christian as opposed to lifting up Christ. By and large the central focus becomes the person in the pew instead of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. I really liked chapter ten, entitled "Whatever Happened to the Pulpit? The Significance of Physical Symbols. For instance, he refers often to the style of Catholic churches and those who broke away from them during the Reformation and how they have done things for hundreds of years.

He leans a little more on historical precedent than I would. However, many of his thoughts made sense especially considering his experience in a contemporary style of church for ten years. They don't take away from the many excellent points he makes. This book is one that is well worth reading, well worth pondering on, and well worth considering how to put into practice, even where one may not be sure of each point or practice the author endorses.

Spiritual Anorexia

This was an intriguing book. I was first drawn to the book due to the title and I immediately thought of the contemporary music that is pervading many of our churches today.

100 Praise & Worship Songs

However, the author has much more in mind than music. Doug Erlandson the author draws on his ten years of attending a church with a contemporary style of service. Music was just a small part of the overall thesis of the book. For instance, one of the chapters is titled "The Eclipse of Prayer and Confession. Even prayers that are offered are short and trite. He continues on that there is very rarely a time allowed for people to confess their sins either at an altar call or during the Lord's Supper.

In this chapter he bemoans the casual view of sin and its consequences. Here is a quote - "Sin isn't bad because it leads to negative consequences. Sin is heinous because it is an affront to the holy majesty of Almighty God. He brought out a good, Biblical point in that this was done in Bible times.

He also called for a return to the quoting of Christian creeds and lays out a convincing argument although not necessarily Biblical why creeds should be brought back to our services. Chapter Eight, entitled "Preach the Gospel. Most of the messages have to do with helping the Christian as opposed to lifting up Christ. By and large the central focus becomes the person in the pew instead of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I really liked chapter ten, entitled "Whatever Happened to the Pulpit? The Significance of Physical Symbols. For instance, he refers often to the style of Catholic churches and those who broke away from them during the Reformation and how they have done things for hundreds of years. He leans a little more on historical precedent than I would. However, many of his thoughts made sense especially considering his experience in a contemporary style of church for ten years.

I would recommend this to any Christian who is currently attending what we would call "a contemporary style" Christian church today or would like to know what goes on in the typical "contemporary style" church today. I also recommend this for any pastor or leader of a church. See all 38 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on August 10, Published on June 21, Published on June 15, Published on December 31, Published on October 26, Published on September 2, Or about worshipping the Creator of the Universe?

Published on July 28, Published on February 21, Published on January 23, Breaks down the worship service into its Published on December 3, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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