James Hart: Aligning With the Star

Presidential Address, January 6, 2016, Feast of the Epiphany

Dr. James Hart
Dr. James Hart

St. Irenaeus stated, “God did not ask us to follow him because he needed our help, but because he knew that loving him would make us whole.” In fact, St. Irenaeus embraced the perspective held by all the other Church Fathers that in worship we are divinized. What is divinization? God condescended to us in the incarnation, so we could fully participate in the divine nature. Or, more simply, God became human so humans could become God. In adoration, right worship, we become reconciled to the one who made us and loves us. And we become divinized; we grow in Christ-likeness, or godliness.

This is a seminal idea from scripture and the Church Fathers: humans were created to offer right praise to God. We who follow Christ have the great privilege of engaging the world, telling the world its true story, and bringing it to the right worship of the only God who is ultimately true, good and beautiful. This is why the focus on right worship is at the very core of the Christian faith!  [Read more . . . ]

About the author

Dr. James R. Hart has served as President of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies since 2007. Dr. Hart was a member of the first IWS doctoral class, the Alpha class, and served as Dean of Students during his matriculation. After graduating from IWS, Dr. Webber appointed him as the Dean of Administration, and then Provost in 2006. In June of 2007, he was inaugurated as the second president of IWS. Dr. Hart holds a B.M. in Sacred Music from Oral Roberts University, an M.M. in Trumpet Performance from the University of Tulsa, and a D.W.S. from the Institute for Worship Studies. He was critical to the formation of IWS in Florida and has held administrative responsibilities since its inception in 1999. He is a professional trumpeter, choral director, and worship leader, and a published composer/arranger, songwriter, and author. He has been involved in worship leadership in various contexts around the globe for over 40 years and has taught in the areas of worship, theology, and music in various conferences, colleges, and seminaries. Dr. Hart and his wife, Carol, have three daughters and three grandchildren.