Category Archives: Articles on Worship

Why “Virtual Lord’s Supper” Is Impossible

Why “Virtual Lord’s Supper” Is Impossible

This past Monday I turned 40, and because of “stay in place” requirements, my wife hosted a surprise Zoom birthday celebration. About 20 people logged on, they sang “Happy birthday” (which didn’t go well, but was hilarious), and it was a really nice brief chance to see a lot of friends and family since we… Continue Reading

Wrong Responses to a Loss of Corporate Worship

Wrong Responses to a Loss of Corporate Worship

When Israel lost its Temple in A. D. 70, you might imagine it would have prompted much soul-searching and repentance among the rabbis that had rejected Jesus as Messiah. In fact, the rabbis had known for forty years before that date that something was amiss. Yoma 39b of the Talmud records the strange occurrences from… Continue Reading

Home Worship Resources During COVID-19

Home Worship Resources During COVID-19

Last week I briefly highlighted how a church can at least approximate worship “together” while we’re prevented from being together physically, and I definitely echo David de Bruyn’s comments here about taking care to make sure that we’re not cheapening corporate worship through the technological means we use during this time. To be clear, neither… Continue Reading

Why We Won’t Livestream During Lockdown (Though We Could)

Why We Won’t Livestream During Lockdown (Though We Could)

Left-click the bread icon to consume the bread.  >Click< >>>  Thank you. You have eaten the bread. Left-click the cup icon to consume the cup.  > Click< >>> Thank you. You have drunk the cup. Sound preposterous? Why shouldn’t we do virtual Lord’s Supper? Our technology has made this scenario possible. But is it desirable?… Continue Reading

How a church can worship “together” during COVID-19

How a church can worship “together” during COVID-19

It may be tempting to think that we are living in unprecedented times until we remember that Christians have faced persecution and plagues throughout history. This is not the first time Christians have been forced to gather in small groups, nor will it be the last. However, what we are facing as a result of… Continue Reading

The Dangers of Syncretism and Idolatry

The Dangers of Syncretism and Idolatry

In the Old Testament Law, God gave his people very specific instructions about how they were to relate to the people around them, including in their culture and worship practices. Deuteronomy 12:2–8 reveals important principles in this regard. God commanded that the people destroy the places where pagans worshiped, including their altars, their pillars, their… Continue Reading

How the Order of OT Sacrifices Communicated a Theology of Worship

How the Order of OT Sacrifices Communicated a Theology of Worship

Last week I described how the layout and structure of the tabernacle communicated a particular transcendent theology of worship. Even the order of the sacrifices pictures this. God gave specific instructions concerning sacrifices to him: An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your… Continue Reading

Taste and Preference: A Last Word

Taste and Preference: A Last Word

This entry is part 56 of 61 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Why are there such different “tastes” among people? Is the debate over music in worship simply a “preference issue”?  Are matters of music, dress, recreation merely matters of “personal style”? We have tried to sort out the meanings of the word “taste”, and have seen two distinct meanings. The first is the act of judging,… Continue Reading

Called by God to Worship

Called by God to Worship

The first Patriarch of Israel, Abraham, was not originally a worshiper of the true God; he dwelt the land of Ur, worshiping many false gods (Josh 24:2). God initiated his contact with Abraham (Gen 12:1), confirming a central that principle that all true worship begins with the God who reveals himself to his people. Each… Continue Reading

The First Worship War

The First Worship War

The very first conflict following the Fall was a conflict over worship. Genesis 4:3–8 relates how Abel’s offering to the Lord’s was accepted, while Cain’s was not. These offerings were important because they were God’s means for at least temporarily and partially restoring communion with his people. Yet for some reason that is not explicit… Continue Reading

Foundations of Worship

Foundations of Worship

“In the beginning, God.” With those opening words of the book of Genesis, we find the very foundation for all biblical religion. God’s self-existence, creative power, and divine providence over all things provides the basis for a Christian worldview and theology, which should flow into how Christians worship (cultus) and, indeed, the entirety of how… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: Two Worship Philosophies

Roots of Evangelical Worship: Two Worship Philosophies

In the wake of eighteenth-century Enlightenment and nineteenth-century revivalism, evangelical Christianity evidenced two distinct philosophies of worship. The first was the conservative philosophy that generally characterized each of the post-Reformation groups despite their idiosyncratic differences. This conservative philosophy desired to preserve the theology and practices of biblical worship, mediated through the tradition of the church… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: The Oxford Movement

Roots of Evangelical Worship: The Oxford Movement

Over the past month I have been exploring the various historical roots that created what we might call “evangelical worship” today, including German Pietism, American Revival, the Wesleys, American Democracy and Camp Meetings, and Charles Finney. Today, I’d like to look at one reaction to some of these developments, that I would suggest also had… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: Charles G. Finney

Roots of Evangelical Worship: Charles G. Finney

Many factors, cultural and theological, converged to form what we might call today “Evangelical Worship,” including Enlightenment philosophy, German Pietism, John and Charles Wesley, American revival and democracy, and rural camp meetings. None, however, had as significant impact as one individual—nineteenth-century Revivalist Charles G. Finney (1792–1875). Influenced by theologian Nathaniel Taylor’s “New Haven Theology,” Finney… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: American Democracy and Camp Meetings

Roots of Evangelical Worship: American Democracy and Camp Meetings

For the past several weeks, I have been tracing what influences formed what today we might call “Evangelical worship,” including German Pietism, American Revival, and the Wesleys. Developments in nineteenth-century America also had considerable influence. The nineteenth century in America was a critical time in its cultural, political, and religious development. The nation was still… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: The Wesleys and Methodism

Roots of Evangelical Worship: The Wesleys and Methodism

What today we might call “evangelical worship” stems from many different influences, some of which I have been highlighting here over the past couple of weeks, including German Pietism and American Revival. A third contributing movement involved the Wesley brothers and Methodism, which arose as a response to increasing lack of devotion in the Church… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: Early American Revival

Roots of Evangelical Worship: Early American Revival

Along with German Pietism, revival in early America contributed to what would become distinctive Evangelical worship. American democracy itself had both positive and negative effects for Christianity and its worship. On the positive side, the new world provided freedom for the new colonists to worship according to their convictions rather than state mandate, which is why… Continue Reading

Roots of Evangelical Worship: German Pietism

Roots of Evangelical Worship: German Pietism

Many factors coalesced in the wake of the Protestant Reformation to produce what we now might call “Evangelical worship.” The first was German Pietism. Pietism was a reform movement within orthodox Lutheranism that had significant impact in the late seventeenth century to mid-eighteenth century. The Pietist movement began in Germany in 1675 with Philipp Jakob… Continue Reading

Worship and the “Mixt Congregation”

Worship and the “Mixt Congregation”

The great shift in worship over the last century has been the result of evangelical clergy in America seeking to make the worship of the church more palatable to the so-called “unchurched.” This is without dispute. The church growth gurus have urged Christian ministers to engineer the style and “aesthetic” of evangelical worship so those… Continue Reading