Tag Archives: Articles on Worship

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: 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

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

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

Affect or Effect

Affect or Effect

This entry is part 2 of 52 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The difference between affections and emotions is seen in what art is used in worship. Since worship uses art, worship leaders can use it in precisely one of these two ways: to affect us, or to create effect. They can work with poetry, music and the spoken word to work with the imagination. There 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

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

Biblical Authority in Worship Practice

Biblical Authority in Worship Practice

One important principle articulated in several places in the New Testament was an emphasis upon the importance of biblical authority for worship practices. Usually these kinds of discussions came in the context of confronting the legalism of the Jewish religion. During his ministry, Jesus had already condemned the adding of religious practices not prescribed in… Continue Reading

Worship in the Assembly

Worship in the Assembly

While the book of Acts gives examples of early churches gathering for worship—Scripture reading, preaching, prayer, and the Lord’s Table—the rest of the New Testament further emphasizes this central purpose for church meetings. In particular, several ways in which the New Testament authors describe the church and what it does when it gathers clearly identify… Continue Reading

Why Hymnals?

Why Hymnals?

I was recently asked to fill out a survey for pastors about their use of hymnals. Their final question was: “If you DO use hymnals for congregational singing, why do you view them as a worthwhile means of leading your church in worship?” Here was my response: A printed hymnal is good for so many… 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

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 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