Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children.

Author Archives: Scott Aniol

How Christians Have Responded to the Secularization of Culture

How Christians Have Responded to the Secularization of Culture

Over the past several weeks I have been tracing how western culture was impacted in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the rise of secularism. An initial response to the rise of secularism by Christians was to accept a separation of reason and faith and attempt to affirm both. However, adopting the rationalist redefinition of reason… Continue Reading

Secular Culture

Secular Culture

In blog posts over the last several weeks, I have been trying to help us understand what kinds of influences and values have converged to produce the culture in which we Christians in the West now find ourselves. I’ve explored some of the worldview values that have shifted; today, I’d like to begin exploring how… Continue Reading

Secular Worldview

Secular Worldview

As we Christians seek to live Christianly in the culture in which we find ourselves, it is important that we recognize how values contrary to God have infiltrated our culture so that we can respond appropriately. The naturalist and empiricist philosophies that emerged in western civilization as a result of the Enlightenment began quickly to spread,… Continue Reading

Reason and Faith

Reason and Faith

Last week I highlighted the fact that the Enlightenment essentially created a Worldview without God, elevating reason over faith. The elevation of reason over faith in the eighteenth century took two general forms. First, pure naturalists relied upon reason as the ultimate authority by which all notions must be judged; in other words, naturalists will not… Continue Reading

Worldview without God

Worldview without God

Many factors gradually led to the end of the close church/state union of Christendom in the West. Several of these, ironically, actually came as a result of the dominance of Christianity. The fifteenth-century Renaissance, which emphasized classical learning rooted in original sources, flourished among Christian theologians, but also began to dismantle unilateral control of the… Continue Reading

Orderly Worship

Orderly Worship

While the New Testament does not contain any examples or prescriptions of particular liturgies, Paul does address the matter of service order in 1 Corinthians 14:26–33: What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.… Continue Reading

The Theo-logic of Heavenly Worship

The Theo-logic of Heavenly Worship

In the book of Revelation, God granted the apostle John a look into the temple of heaven. As with Isaiah during the reign of King Uzziah (Isaiah 6), it is no accident that this vision of heavenly worship came at a time when worship on earth was in chaos. In his vision, John observed God… Continue Reading

The Good and Bad of Christendom

The Good and Bad of Christendom

The legalization of Christianity by Roman Emperor Constantine I (272–337) in 313 with his Edict of Milan marked the beginning of a period lasting up to the Reformation and Enlightenment that some call “Christendom.” Religious toleration in the empire created conditions for the freedom and growth of Christianity to be sure, but when in 391… Continue Reading

He will dress himself for service.

He will dress himself for service.

What is he doing? The servant stared with bewilderment as his master girded up his garment and bent down to the bowl of water. He had done as his lord had commanded—he was dressed and ready for service; the lamps were burning, even though it was already the third watch. He was still awake. He… Continue Reading

New Podcast: By the Waters of Babylon with Scott Aniol

New Podcast: By the Waters of Babylon with Scott Aniol

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast: “By the Waters of Babylon with Scott Aniol.” For years I have posted a weekly blog here at Religious Affections Ministries, and recently a bi-weekly opinion piece at The Christian Post. This new format will provide content for those who enjoy listening to podcasts.… Continue Reading

Lukewarm

Lukewarm

He spewed the water from his mouth. Disgusting! He had recently come from his home in Colossae. There he regularly enjoyed cool, refreshing water from the spring. He had often taken it for granted. I should have remembered, he thought picking up the cup he had dropped to the ground. I’m not home anymore. The… Continue Reading

What Does “Sacrament” Mean?

What Does “Sacrament” Mean?

Like ancient Israel, early Christians considered worship on the Lord’s Day to be sacred—set apart from the regular, mundane activities of life, and therefore what took place in corporate worship was also sacred. This day was “the Lord’s” in a way different from all other days, and the eucharist was a table belonging to the… Continue Reading

Tax Collectors and Sinners

Tax Collectors and Sinners

There was commotion at the windows. What are they doing here? he thought. He had not expected to meet this famed teacher, let alone dine with him at his table. He had been minding his own business, collecting taxes for the Romans. It was his job; sure, he took a little off the top, but… Continue Reading

Sources for Discerning Early Church Worship

Sources for Discerning Early Church Worship

After the close of the New Testament Scriptures, details concerning how, exactly, Christians worshiped are somewhat difficult to determine. However, several early documents do help to elucidate some of what characterized church gatherings. These include letters from important church leaders like Clement of Rome (35–99), Ignatius in Antioch (c. 35–107), Polycarp (69–155), Clement of Alexandria… Continue Reading

Abide

Abide

It was a strong vine, surging with health and life. The vine dresser moved along the length of the vine, carefully fingering each branch. He had come to know these branches through the years. He knew their needs, and tended to them with the love of a father. He stopped. He reached in and fingered… Continue Reading

The Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day

An early second-century letter from Ignatius, one of the first pastors of the church in Antioch, helps to solidify that the first day of the week became for Christians their primary day of worship and that they referred to it as “the Lord’s Day.” The phrase “Lord’s Day” appears only once in the New Testament… Continue Reading