Tag Archives: Articles on Worship

Worldview-Forming Worship

Worldview-Forming Worship

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Imagine a dense forest separating two cities. In order to engage in commerce between these cities, merchants must pass through the forest. For the earliest of these merchants, this was a very difficult task, wrought with many mistakes and casualties. Eventually, though, over time and with experience, the merchants discovered the safest, quickest route through… Continue Reading

Why We Should Study the Liturgical Story of the Christian Faith

Why We Should Study the Liturgical Story of the Christian Faith

Studying the liturgical history of the Christian faith paints a necessary picture of what Christians have truly believed throughout history, perhaps in some cases more so than studying their creeds. This history helps us obey God’s command given in Job 8:8–10: For inquire, please, of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out.… Continue Reading

How Liturgy Tells the Story of the Christian Faith

How Liturgy Tells the Story of the Christian Faith

There are many valuable ways to study the history of the church; church historians often trace the development of creedal theology, recount the lives of key theologians and church leaders, or study significant events in the life of the church. Each of these is a valuable way to understand how we arrived where we are… Continue Reading

A Theology of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship

A Theology of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past several weeks carefully surveying the Holy Spirit’s work throughout Scripture, and specifically in passages that describe his work in worship, to determine what should be our expectation regarding his ordinary work in worship. The common expectation today is that we should expect him to… Continue Reading

For Thus Says the Lord

For Thus Says the Lord

During the Hebrew captivity, prophets like Jeremiah provided instruction of critical cultural discernment. God permitted his people to evaluate the culture of their captors and participate in some aspects of that culture as long as they did not contradict his law. However, when it came to their worship, the Lord’s instructions were far more strict. The Hebrews were… Continue Reading

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Once we understand that beauty is close to glory in meaning, we will without any difficulty find beauty at the heart of many Christian endeavors. The most obvious is worship. Worship is the act of returning to God affections corresponding to His beauty. Psalm 29:1-2 captures this: “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,… Continue Reading

Ordering in Corporate Worship

Ordering in Corporate Worship

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, we saw that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the purpose of building a “holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:21-22). This metaphor of the Spirit building believers into a temple for God narrows the focus of the Holy Spirit’s work specifically to corporate worship. The temple metaphor is not coincidental; the… Continue Reading

Why We Let the Little Ones Come to the Service

Why We Let the Little Ones Come to the Service

I remember the Sunday driving home from church when Becky said, “Wow, I think I was able to listen to the whole sermon today.” Our kids had finally reached the age where they were able to sit still in our church’s service without needing attention. Now we’ve “started over” with two more children. There is… Continue Reading

Pentecostalism’s View of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship

Pentecostalism’s View of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, I noted that the most common expectation today of the Holy Spirit’s work in worship is that he will make God’s presence known in a tangible way, and I promised to discuss where this expectation arose. This expectation is certainly not new; theologians such as John Owen and Jonathan Edwards addressed the religious… Continue Reading

Holy Spirit, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Holy Spirit, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Arguably, the default expectation of contemporary evangelical worshipers is that the Holy Spirit works in worship in such a way so as to create an extraordinary experience, well expressed in the popular worship song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt: Holy spirit, You are welcome here Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere Your glory,… Continue Reading

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

A critic recently approached me about our hymnal and rebuked us for (among other things) including hymns written by Catholics in our hymnal. It is no secret that we include Catholic and Orthodox hymn texts. For example, we include the very ancient Te Deum (“Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”). We include works by or attributed to… Continue Reading

How Singing Forms Us

How Singing Forms Us

This entry is part 6 of 9 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.

We have seen thus far that good hymns help us to express the affections of our hearts in response to God’s character and works, which brings him great glory he deserves, and that this kind of expression in public is a great witness to the unbelieving world. But there is a second reason that we… 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

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

The Unproven Premise Strikes Again

The Unproven Premise Strikes Again

The Gospel Coalition recently published an excerpt from a new book by Brett McCracken in which he makes a very common argument about music in worship that may sound pious at first glance, yet has a fatal flaw. Here is the core premise of McCracken’s argument summarized in two pull quotes from the post: “We… Continue Reading