Category Archives: Articles on Worship

Beauty’s Definition: What About the Cross?

Beauty’s Definition: What About the Cross?

This entry is part 20 of 23 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.

If beauty is ultimately God’s self-knowledge and communicative self-delight, we can explain easily enough why other theories of beauty have defined beauty as harmony and symmetry, or truth and goodness, or pleasure and delight. For Trinitarian love is the ultimate and absolute form of harmony and unity, being a symmetry not of objects but of… Continue Reading

Beauty Defined (With Some Help From Edwards)

Beauty Defined (With Some Help From Edwards)

This entry is part 18 of 23 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.

How do we decide between these competing definitions of beauty? As Christians, we would firstly say that we cannot be satisfied with a definition of beauty abstracted from God. Beauty must be defined in relation to God. For that reason, special revelation (Scripture) must define beauty in general revelation (nature and art), not the other… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Definition

Beauty’s Definition

This entry is part 17 of 23 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.

Defining beauty is no easy task. A definition of beauty or the beautiful has eluded the grasp of those who wish a definition with mathematical precision. This more than two-millennia-old discussion remains open, and no definition has satisfied its perennial participants or become the final word. Among those who venture to define it, we can… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Difficulties: The Problem of Taste

Beauty’s Difficulties: The Problem of Taste

This entry is part 15 of 23 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.

After more than a century of grappling with Descartes’ division of knowledge into “subjective” and “objective”, eighteenth-century thinkers developed a way to rescue the concept of beauty. The conversation about beauty moved away from a discussion of harmony, proportion, or unity and towards the idea of taste. In fact, at this early stage, the attention… Continue Reading

The Bowl

The Bowl

High upon a volcanic plateau was a village, about an hour’s walk from the Everlasting Spring. Once a week, on the Day of Worship, the Healer would arise long before dawn and begin his trek to the Spring, carrying the Bowl. Hollowed out from a large stone, the Bowl had been passed down from one… Continue Reading

Scripture-Formed Worship

Scripture-Formed Worship

Our task as churches is to make disciples, and this happens when we use the Word of God to shape the minds and hearts of believers in our congregations. This recognition highlights the significance of corporate worship as one of the primary means through which God forms us into mature disciple-worshipers. Yet because modern Christianity… Continue Reading

Disciple-Forming Corporate Worship

Disciple-Forming Corporate Worship

Every church has as its mission the making of disciples, but how does that happen? Two weeks ago I made the point that while such discipleship certainly involves teaching truth to the mind, that is not enough since discipleship is more than data transmission. Last week I supported this claim by looking at Scripture itself,… Continue Reading

Beauty and Motivation

Beauty and Motivation

This entry is part 10 of 23 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.

As surprising as it might sound, beauty lies at the heart of motive. Why we do what we do is a question of desire, and desire is rooted in what we think is good and beautiful. Jonathan Edwards tackled the questions of motive, desire, and freedom in his work The Freedom of the Will. There Edwards… Continue Reading

Beauty, Ethics and Worship

Beauty, Ethics and Worship

This entry is part 9 of 23 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.

Sometimes throwaway lines leave a deep impression. One of those were words written on a blog I avidly followed about fifteen years ago. The writer said, “A good man does not love ugly things”. Words like that enabled me to see a profound link and overlap between what is true, good, and beautiful. Real beauty… Continue Reading

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Biblical, Not Unregulated

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Biblical, Not Unregulated

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

For the past month, I have been tracing Paul’s argument about spiritual gifts in corporate worship in 1 Corinthians 14, drawing out important implications including the fact the corporate worship is corporate, not individual, for believers, not unbelievers, is primarily for edification, not merely expression, and must be orderly, not disorderly. The preceding two principles… Continue Reading

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Order, Not Disorder

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Order, Not Disorder

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Sometimes people comment that the New Testament gives us very little instruction regarding corporate worship, but this is not true. There are many NT passages that help define corporate worship, and some of the NT epistles were written specifically to help believers know “how to behave in the household of God” (1 Tim 3:15), not… Continue Reading

Doctrinal Triage for Worship

Doctrinal Triage for Worship

Many years ago, Al Mohler published a widely-read article on doctrinal triage, a method for evaluating the seriousness of doctrines. Kevin Bauder then pointed out that this approach was something that mainstream fundamentalists had espoused for many years, with possibly more sophistication. I’ve thought for a while that we need something like that for the… Continue Reading

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Edification, not Expression

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Edification, not Expression

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Paul’s central argument in the only full NT chapter addressing corporate worship is that for corporate worship, the spiritual gift of prophecy was to be desired more than the gift of tongues. Even though this core argument may not be directly applicable in a day when tongues and prophecy have ceased, I have been demonstrating… Continue Reading

Live Images Are Not Living Persons

Live Images Are Not Living Persons

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Disembodied Christianity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Our technologies have come a long way from when John wrote, likely using a reed-pen on a papyrus sheet, “I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face.” (3 Jn. 1:13-14)… Continue Reading

Disembodied Christianity

Disembodied Christianity

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Disembodied Christianity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

During last week, I read one man rage at ‘conservative Christians’ for their desire to re-open churches. He then proceeded to point out that Hebrews 10:25 does not really prove that churches need to gather in physical buildings, and that all Christians who call for re-opened churches based upon Hebrews 10:25 are abusing the text.… Continue Reading

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Believers, Not Unbelievers

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Believers, Not Unbelievers

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul makes the specific argument that in corporate worship, the gift of prophecy is to be desired over the gift of tongues. But in the course of making that argument, Paul reveals core principles about the nature and purpose of corporate worship that apply for all churches to this day. Last… Continue Reading

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Corporate, Not Individual

The Nature and Purpose of Corporate Worship: Corporate, Not Individual

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

For the last couple of weeks I have been laying the contextual foundation for what is perhaps the most significant chapter in the New Testament about corporate worship. Last week I demonstrated that Paul’s central argument in at least the first half of 1 Corinthians 14 is that for corporate worship, the gift of prophecy—direct… Continue Reading

Decent and Orderly Worship: Why is Prophecy better than Tongues?

Decent and Orderly Worship: Why is Prophecy better than Tongues?

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I started a series on what is likely the single most important text in the New Testament regarding our corporate worship—1 Corinthians 14. By way of introduction, I demonstrated that the chapter is specifically addressing “when we come together,” that is, it is explicitly about the gatherings of churches, and thus this chapter… Continue Reading

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 3)

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 3)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What's missing in virtual church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The novel coronavirus has resulted in a time where many churches have been unable to gather. This has been unprecedented for most of us alive today. Many churches have opted for a virtual or streaming ministry. Others have encouraged family worship, or sent pastoral guidance to church members to follow. As I have repeatedly said,… Continue Reading

Decent and Orderly Worship: The Context

Decent and Orderly Worship: The Context

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Decent and Orderly Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“Our church’s worship is pretty formal, but I prefer Holy Spirit-led worship.” Such was the comment I overheard recently by a young evangelical describing his church’s worship service, illustrating a very common perception by many evangelicals today—if the Holy Spirit actively works in worship, the results will be something extraordinary, an experience “quenched” by too… Continue Reading