THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

A couple of weeks ago, I shared this clip of Seth Dahl, a preacher at Bethel Church in California. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll find that it's an odd excerpt. As he's trying to explore the notion of "blaming God," he gets mixed up and even starts by saying that Jesus essentially asked for forgiveness.

As you can imagine, the video kicked off quite a comment thread on my Facebook wall. And like many of the preaching excerpts of Bethel Redding will do, it prompted to us to discuss theology, specifically this: can (or should) a church's theology be separate from the songs it releases?

But, I've realized something in the weeks since then, specifically about Bethel apologists. (This actually applies to most discussion about "endorsing" a church's songs, regardless of one specific church.) I find that those who defend Bethel's songs come from a BENEFIT-OF-THE-DOUBT approach - meaning we understand that people misspeak or preach stuff we don't agree with, but if those people love Jesus and they're trying their best, we should grant them grace and not get up in arms or try to take action. We should accept their offerings as brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm all for granting grace, 'cause I say the wrong thing ALL THE TIME!

But here's the thing; most worship leader friends of mine who subscribe to the BENEFIT-OF-THE-DOUBT approach, aren't nearly as gracious with their musicians. If a potential musician can't make it through the audition, they don't grant them grace and let them on the team. If a player or singer isn't learning their parts every week, these worship leaders won't rest until they've convinced (or intimidated) that person to shape up.

We're okay with teachers flubbing or preaching incompletely but we demand perfection from our musicians? Should we have the same expectation of excellence when it comes to preaching? If we're going to be gracious, let's be gracious to everyone who steps up to serve on that platform. If we're going to demand quality, let's make it a priority for everyone.

Which speaks to a bigger question - are music and preaching equal when it comes to expectation? Should we expect the same things from each? Would love to know what you think! Comment!