Category Archives: Articles on Worship

Memorial

Memorial

The requirement for Israel of specific times and rituals for worship, both weekly and annually, established a fundamental principle for God’s people that did not end with Israel. God’s creation of these worship days and festivals was not arbitrary; rather, in establishing these days, God clearly articulated their purpose. For example, when God founded the… Continue Reading

Worship at Sinai

Worship at Sinai

Fifty days after the exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel arrived at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where God specifically set apart the worshiping community and gave instructions for how he desired to be worshiped, serving as the formative era of Israelite worship and history. This encounter is on God’s initiative. The people don’t… Continue Reading

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What we have seen over the past several weeks is a dynamic interplay between four realities: worldview, theology, culture, and cultus. Worldview and theology affect one another and constitute religion; culture and cultus affect one another as liturgy. But this kind of mutual formation occurs at a macro level as well, between religion and liturgy,… Continue Reading

The Liturgical Nature of Cultus

The Liturgical Nature of Cultus

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I described the liturgical nature of culture. Yet there is a second element within the broader concept of liturgy, actually the more common use of the term, and the one that centers on the primary focus of this book—worship. While the Greek term leitourgia was originally used to describe all sorts of social works,… Continue Reading

The Liturgical Nature of Culture

The Liturgical Nature of Culture

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I am arguing that liturgy forms our religion, and religion forms our liturgy. When I left off last time, I defined religion as worldview + theology. Now it’s time to define liturgy. Liturgy is a word that I am using to describe the way we “live and move and have our being.” Our English word… Continue Reading

Do This in Remembrance of Me

Do This in Remembrance of Me

The observance of the “Last Supper” by Jesus and his disciple appears in all four gospels, though John does not give details of the meal itself (Matt. 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; Luke 22:19, 20). The particular elements of the meal mentioned in the gospel records (and repeated later in 1 Corinthians) each become significant for the… Continue Reading

Religion = Worldview + Theology

Religion = Worldview + Theology

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Everyone has an implicit worldview—a fundamental orientation of the heart expressed in assumptions about reality, and most people have an explicit theology—conscious beliefs expressed in stated propositions. The combination of worldview and theology is what constitutes a religion. Expressed in this way, all people have a religion, whether they acknowledge it or not. Even atheists… Continue Reading

What is the Nature of Religion? Theology

What is the Nature of Religion? Theology

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Broadly speaking, theology is how we intentionally answer the questions James Sire provided (see last week’s post) that form the assumptions at the core of our worldview. What we believe about the nature of reality, the purpose and meaning of life, the basis of right and wrong, and most importantly God form our theology. Theology… Continue Reading

What is the Nature of Religion? Worldview

What is the Nature of Religion? Worldview

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Worldview-Forming Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Religion is composed of two parts, the first of which is worldview. A worldview consists of a set of assumptions a person holds about reality; it is a lens through which he understands and interprets everything around him. James Sire has provided a helpful and influential definition of worldview: A worldview is a commitment, a… Continue Reading

Worldview-Forming Worship

Worldview-Forming Worship

This entry is part 1 of 7 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 Parable About Pop Music in Church

A Parable About Pop Music in Church

Christian 1: So I hear you have a problem with lollipops? Christian 2: Lollipops? No, I think they’re just fine. Christian 1: But you apparently won’t eat them for family meals. Christian 2: That’s true. I prefer my family eats some kind of meat, vegetables or healthier food for their meals. Christian 1: So you… 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

The Value of Beauty

The Value of Beauty

This entry is part 6 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.

What possible value can the study of beauty deliver? Isn’t this fiddling while Rome burns, counting daffodil petals while barbarians lay siege to the city? In times of apostasy, false teaching, deception and darkness, shouldn’t aesthetics go to the bottom of the priority-pile? When caricatured as effete aestheticism, then yes, beauty will seem to be… 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

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

This entry is part 4 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.

The idea of beauty is present in the first chapters of the Bible, as God creates and then makes the evaluative judgement that it was “good”. God was not judging the morality of the world, but praising the the beauty of creation. The Bible opens with God creating a cosmos which was aesthetically pleasing to… Continue Reading

In Pursuit of a Doxology

In Pursuit of a Doxology

This entry is part 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.

In 1962, A. W. Tozer warned that the evangelical church was missing a jewel. “Now, worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We’re organized; we work; we have our agendas. We have almost everything, but there’s one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: that is the ability to worship.… 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