Tag Archives: Articles on Worship

Our Eternal Occupation

Our Eternal Occupation

Kevin T. Bauder Christian writers from Augustine to Dante picture the eternal destiny of the righteous as beatific vision. The idea is that in eternity, purified from our sins and glorified in our resurrection bodies, we shall behold God in the fullness of His glory. Transfixed with His beauty, our eyes shall gaze upon Him… Continue Reading

Drawing Near to God as the Essence of Worship

Drawing Near to God as the Essence of Worship

In order to grasp the essence of Christian worship, we must start in the beginning. Creation provides the foundation for understanding not only the nature of God and mankind but also the substance of their relationship in worship. God, the sovereign Initiator, publicly revealed himself through what he made. The creation itself displays his nature… Continue Reading

Sincerity and Profanity

Sincerity and Profanity

This entry is part 20 of 26 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Many pastors and Christian leaders believe they are purifying Christianity and worship when they remove any kind of formality from corporate worship. Formal dress, an exalted tone in prayer, or reverent music are eschewed for a more casual and informal approach. They appear to believe that retaining forms that are not immediately recognizable or penetrable… Continue Reading

But we never talk like that in real life!

But we never talk like that in real life!

It appears today that “authenticity” has become the most important virtue. In one sense this is good. Hypocrisy is a vice condemned by Scripture (Mathew 23:27). I often think about this with regard to my children. Never would I want them to watch me act one way in public with others and think to themselves,… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

Review Article: You Are What you Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

Review Article: You Are What you Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

For several years now James K. A. Smith has been helpfully speaking and writing on the subject of liturgical formation in education and worship. His first two volumes on this subject, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Baker, 2009) and Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Baker, 2013), have reintroduced several important biblical… Continue Reading

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken

Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God; He whose word cannot be broken Formed thee for his own abode: On the Rock of Ages founded, What can shake thy sure repose? With salvation’s walls surrounded, Thou may’st smile at all thy foes. See, the streams of living waters, Springing from eternal… Continue Reading

You have come to Mount Zion

You have come to Mount Zion

In Hebrews 12:18, Mount Sinai stands as a representative for worship under the Law, and thus the location of this worship is first the tabernacle and later the temple. In contrast, worship for a Christian takes place on “Mount Zion, even the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (12:22). These synonymous terms refer to the… Continue Reading

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 3: Worship that Trusts in God

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 3: Worship that Trusts in God

This entry is part of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It is time to complete our discussion of Psalm 137 by looking through stanza 3, verses 7–9: Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!” O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with… Continue Reading

Not of the world

Not of the world

If worship is inspired by the revelation of the Lord of glory, then it will flower into a life-changing communion with the living God that will ultimately be made perfect in glory. But for the present it takes place in the world, which has always been a very religious place, though not in a truly… Continue Reading

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 2: Worship that is Pleasing to God

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 2: Worship that is Pleasing to God

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have considered our experience as God’s people in exile through stanza 1 of Psalm 137; now look at stanza 2, verses 5–6: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do… Continue Reading

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 1: Worship in a Pagan Culture

Looking through Psalm 137, Stanza 1: Worship in a Pagan Culture

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In our study of Psalm 137 over the past several weeks, we have looked at the historical context of the psalm, the analogical relationships between the psalm and the present status of Christians, and what this psalm does aesthetically. We have seen that as pilgrims and exiles in this present world, Christians today have much to… Continue Reading

What Psalm 137 Does

What Psalm 137 Does

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past several weeks, we have been looking at Psalm 137 and its relevance for Christian today. I have presented the historical background of the psalm and argued that it has significant relevance for us since, like the author/audience of Psalm 137, Christians are exiles living among a pagan people. Now let us consider… Continue Reading

Dual Citizens

Dual Citizens

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, as part of our study of Psalm 137, I pointed out the striking similarities between the conditions in which the Hebrews exiled in Babylon found themselves and the Church today. I ended by asking, “How many Christians today consider themselves sojourners and exiles? How many Christians recognize that their citizenship is in another… Continue Reading

A People in Exile

A People in Exile

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I presented the historical context for Psalm 137, a context of the people of God living in exile among a pagan people. Now once again, understanding this immediate context may cause us to wonder, how in the world could this psalm be relevant for Christians today? Certainly we do not live under such depressing… Continue Reading

The Historical Context of Psalm 137

The Historical Context of Psalm 137

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I began a series looking at Psalm 137. I am going to do two things with the psalm; first, I will look at the psalm, and then I would like to look through the psalm and allow it to speak to us today. So let us begin by looking at Psalm 137. The psalm… Continue Reading

God’s People in Exile

God’s People in Exile

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song… Continue Reading

Augustine on that which deserves the name “love”

Augustine on that which deserves the name “love”

Too often, contemporary Christianity sees all emotions or affections as essentially equal. For this reason, many conclude as long as some kind of religious emotion is evoked, some good has been done. Augustine did not believe that all loves were equal. In fact, he distinguished between different kinds of genuine spiritual love. This comes out… Continue Reading

Fittingness

Fittingness

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I argued that if we believe in verbal-plenary inspiration, then the meaning of the aesthetic forms we employ in our contemporary worship must accurately correspond to the meaning Scripture’s aesthetic forms had in their original context. What we need to concern ourselves with is what both Kevin Vanhoozer and Nicholas Wolterstorff call “fittingness.”1 Wolterstorff defines fittingness… Continue Reading

Aesthetic Correspondence

Aesthetic Correspondence

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Biblical Authority and the Aesthetics of Scripture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In this series of essays, I have argued that Scripture presents God’s truth to us, not merely in didactic propositions, but also (in fact, mostly!) through various aesthetic forms. Therefore, when we attempt to translate the truth of Scripture into contemporary forms of communication, we must be certain that the meaning of the original text is accurately… Continue Reading