Category Archives: Articles on Worship

The Many Meanings of “Reformed”

The Many Meanings of “Reformed”

I find it quite amusing these days to be classified by some as “Reformed”, when I’d barely heard the term for most of my Christian life. I grew up in Baptist circles that didn’t use the term “Reformed”. In fact, the first time I heard it used of my church was when a student attending… Continue Reading

Two Views on Christ’s Invitation

Two Views on Christ’s Invitation

Below are two works of Christian imagination. Both attempt to depict what it means for Christ to invite sinners to Himself, and how sinners should understand themselves. On closer examination, however, they are nearly opposite in meaning. We do not see the same Christ, the same Gospel and the same dilemma of the sinner in… Continue Reading

Why Does God Call Us to Sing?

Why Does God Call Us to Sing?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Sing to the Lord a New Song You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last time in our study of Psalm 96, I made the point that structurally this psalm oscillates between calls to praise God through song followed by reciting reasons for praising God. Understanding this structure will help us to discern why God would have us sing this psalm, any psalm, or any song in worship for… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 8: Love for Christ through Scripture-Regulated Worship

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 8: Love for Christ through Scripture-Regulated Worship

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

With this post, I conclude my series on Scripture-regulated worship (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7). The Christian impulse to submit to Christ ought grounds our willing submission to the New Testament in all matters, including worship. If Christ is Lord, then we are obligated to obey him. The way we obey Christ in our worship is… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 7: Loving What Christ Loves

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 7: Loving What Christ Loves

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I am forming an argument for Scripture-regulated worship from two pillars: the authority of Christ and our love for him  (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6). If Christ is Lord, then we should obey him. But we should also obey Christ because we love him. The way Christ exercises authority in the church is through the apostles, and… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 6: Love for Christ and New Testament Authority

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 6: Love for Christ and New Testament Authority

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This is the sixth post in this series (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5). The whole of the first five parts could be summarized in the final paragraph of the last post: In sum, the Christian religion is subservient to Christ’s authority. Christ gave that authority to his apostles and prophets, and they sealed… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 5: Christ’s Authority 3

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 5: Christ’s Authority 3

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

My initial post in this series introduced the idea of worship regulated by Scripture alone (also known as the Regulative Principle of Worship). The second post considered important arguments for the Regulative Principle. The third introduced the argument for the Regulative Principle from Christ’s authority. This argument consists of several subpoints. First, I showed how the New Testament teaches that… Continue Reading

Example Video of a Gospel-Shaped Service

Example Video of a Gospel-Shaped Service

I regularly teach and write about how to plan and lead worship services whose structural narrative express the gospel. For example, in the following article, I explain how I plan such a service, including a video that walks through the process: “How I order corporate worship“ When I teach or write on this subject, I… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 4: Christ’s Authority 2

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 4: Christ’s Authority 2

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The first post in this series introduced Scripture-Regulated Worship. The second post considered some important arguments for Scripture-Regulated Worship. The third post showed the ways the New Testament explains the authority of Christ in churches. To summarize my argument in that third installment, Jesus Christ sent delegates (apostles) to teach his churches his will for them as churches. This… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 3: Christ’s Authority 1

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 3: Christ’s Authority 1

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The first post in this series introduced Scripture Regulated Worship. The second post considered some of the most important arguments for Scripture-Regulated Worship. The Argument from Christ’s Authority The Regulative Principle cannot be understood as a mere novel approach to worship, or even as the preferred method of worship among of Reformed theologians. Scripture regulated worship is… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 2: Arguments for RPW

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 2: Arguments for RPW

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In the first post, I introduced Scripture Regulated Worship and the topic of this series. In this post, I consider some of the most important arguments for Scripture-Regulated Worship. Wise Christians have advanced many reasons to regulate Christian worship according to Scripture. The intent here is not to list all such arguments or even interact… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 1: Introduction

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 1: Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Note: This is the first in a series of posts on the Regulative Principle. This offers documentation for and expands upon my presentation to the 2018 Knowing, Loving, Ministering Conservative Christianity Conference. Two streams concerning worship diverged from the headwaters of the Protestant Reformation. For Luther, a church may worship with any element not forbidden in… Continue Reading

Some Thoughts on Physical Expression in Corporate Worship

Some Thoughts on Physical Expression in Corporate Worship

I recently received an email asking for my opinion on whether worship should be only reverent, or whether celebration and joy—especially expressed through physical expression and even dance—were appropriate for corporate worship. Here is my response: A couple thoughts. One, I would actually agree that joy and even celebration should be part of corporate worship (although not… Continue Reading

Holy Week Service

Holy Week Service

Each year in our church, we have a Holy Week service that has become one of our most anticipated services. It is a simple service of Scripture, hymns, and Communion, following a similar structure to a Lessons and Carols Christmas service, but focusing on the events leading up to and including the Cross. Over the… Continue Reading

Two Exams, and Two Questions

Two Exams, and Two Questions

I present my children with two written tests. They open the envelope of the first, and see the heading, “Dad Orthodoxy”. A series of questions about me follows, which they find delightfully easy. “What is your father’s first name?” “What color are your father’s eyes?” “What is your father’s favorite meal?” “Where did your father… Continue Reading

Hope in Psalm 130

Hope in Psalm 130

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In our study of Psalm 130, we have seen that the psalmist uses various poetic devices like metaphor and repetition to create a picture of what true repentance should feel like–desperate need for forgiveness from sin. This is the primary function of stanza 1 (vss. 1-2) and 3 (vss.5-6) of this song of repentance. But… Continue Reading

Repetition in Psalm 130

Repetition in Psalm 130

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have seen that in verse 1 and 2 of Psalm 130, the author is creating a poetic experience of desperation that he wants us to enter as we consider our sin. He is not just telling us that we should feel desperate about our sin, he shows us artistically through the use of metaphor.… Continue Reading

Metaphors in Psalm 130

Metaphors in Psalm 130

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I pointed out that since Psalm 130 is a song, we cannot treat it like a Pauline epistle. We need to explore the poetic elements of the psalm to let it do for us what the original author(s) intended for it to communicate. First, songs often make use of artistic metaphors to create… Continue Reading

Psalm 130 – A Song!

Psalm 130 – A Song!

This entry is part 5 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It our discussion of Psalm 130, we have seen that it is a song of repentance, it is a song of corporate worship, and it is a gospel song. But notice the common word in each of these descriptions—this is a song! And because this is a poem that is meant to be sung, we… Continue Reading

Psalm 130 – A Gospel Song

Psalm 130 – A Gospel Song

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Out of the Depths You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have been looking at the message of Psalm 130 and have noticed that it is a penitential psalm and a song of corporate worship. The final stanza (verses 7-8) in particular reveal its congregational focus, proclaiming that God will redeem all of his people from their iniquities. You see, this penitential psalm is not… Continue Reading