I contributed a thought along with some other pastors on the Gospel Coalition blog.
I’m interested in feedback. Consider Darrell L. Whiteman’s statement from MissionShift, Ch. 10, Response to Paul G. Hiebert, “The Gospel in Human Contexts: Changing Perceptions of Contextualization.”
I am convinced that there are no sacred forms, only sacred meanings. This does not mean that forms are not important. They are important, but they are important precisely because of they point to, that is, the underlying meanings. Some forms are undoubtedly incapable of carrying Christian meanings, but that decision must be made by local believers who understand their culture and who, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, decide which forms are redeemable and which ones are not. While growing up in a conservative Evangelical church in the 1960s, I was taught that the twang of a guitar and the beat of drums in the church were not forms that could be sued to worship God. They were pagan. Today that same church has a praise band, complete with noisy guitars and banging drums, all making music in praise to our Lord. What happened? Did the church go liberal? No, not at all! The people in that church came to realize over time that these musical instruments could be used in acts of meaningful worship to Almighty God.