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Conclusion to <i>Recovering Intentional Worship: Some Things to Consider Including in Your Church Service</i> by David de Bruyn

Josiah may have been one of the bravest men who ever lived. Receiving the kingdom with the sword of God’ʹs impending judgment dangling over its head, Josiah set about reforming the worship of Judah with an almost frenzied diligence. He cleansed and repaired the Temple, destroyed idolatrous shrines, altars, and images, defiled the high places of idol worship (making them unusable), expelled spiritists and mediums, defrocked apostate priests, re‑instituted the Passover, and did his best to see a radically monotheistic Israel worship God according to the Law.

Josiah did all this knowing that he would not be able to turn back the clock and undo what his religious forebearers had done. And yet, the epitaph on his life was this: Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him (2 Kings 23:25).

Pastors and spiritual leaders like Josiah are rare, but they do exist. They labor with the sense of how difficult it will be to restore biblical worship to the church, but they labor nonetheless. They understand that they may not be able to turn back the juggernaut of pragmatism that has overwhelmed the worship of the evangelical church. Nevertheless, they do not throw up their hands in despair or curse the futility of it all. They quietly, gently, but persistently insist upon biblical worship in their churches. They throw out what is useless. They challenge accepted practice if it is not commanded in Scripture. They reintroduce what has been commanded but forgotten. They labor against the momentum of the culture, against the popularity of majority opinions in the worship wars, and sometimes even against the approval of those in their churches.

Like Josiah, they have to begin somewhere. What they have been handed may not be great, but it is what they have, and they set about the task of fixing, restoring, cleansing, and building. At times, the progress seems like swimming up-stream, but they persist.

Though Josiah’ʹs reforms were soon swallowed up by Judah’ʹs seemingly unstoppable apostasy, God saw fit to honor his memory with a glowing tribute in the eternal Word of God. The outward success of worship warriors may be unimpressive, but there is One who sees.

If our children and our children’ʹs children are able to find churches where biblical worship still exists in their day, it will be because of Josiah‑like pastors and leaders who are trying to reform worship in our day. If this booklet has helped them in their labors, then God be praised.

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies 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. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.