Why Bach Still Matters

Here are four good posts from Greg Wilbur on what the church can learn from Johann Sebastian Bach. Below the posts are ten principles Wilbur derived from studying Bach. If you want a book length treatment of Bach’s life you can read Wilbur’s book Glory and Honor.

Part I
Part II

Part III
Part IV

Principle #1: A worship leader should be a student of Scripture who is constantly seeking to reform their ideas, worship, and aesthetics to the Word of God. God is the standard of beauty and excellence—our worship should seek after biblical excellence and objective beauty, goodness, and truth.

Principle #2: A worship leader should seek to understand the role of music and liturgy in worship in teaching doctrine—not only on a week-by-week basis but in the macrocosm of the life of the church.

Principle #3: A worship leader should be a perpetual student of their craft seeking to understand the theological basis of the very inner workings of music.

Principle #4: A worship leader should seek excellence in their work and consistently strive to improve their talents and abilities by growing in skill and depth—musically and theologically.

Principle #5: Worship should be accessible yet excellent.
Principle #6: How a worship leader plays and leads in worship should be different from the playing at a recital, coffeehouse, or concert.

Principle #7: Worship leaders should choose songs and musical arrangements that are ecclesiastically appropriate—what is appropriate in other venues may not be for corporate worship. The criteria for what is ecclesiastically appropriate refers not only to text but also music, the combination of text and music, arrangements, and execution.
Principle #8: Part of leading worship is looking towards the development of subsequent generations of musicians grounded on issues of permanence and with knowledge of the history of Church worship.

Principle #9: Worship leaders should build on the foundation of the past instead of replacing it, relying more on the Biblical notion of craftsmanship rather than the humanist concept of originality

Principle #10: Reliance on God’s grace alone.