Tag Archives: Articles on Worship

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

For Thus Says the Lord

For Thus Says the Lord

During the Hebrew captivity, prophets like Jeremiah provided instruction of critical cultural discernment. God permitted his people to evaluate the culture of their captors and participate in some aspects of that culture as long as they did not contradict his law. However, when it came to their worship, the Lord’s instructions were far more strict. The Hebrews were… Continue Reading

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

This entry is part 5 of 8 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

Ordering in Corporate Worship

Ordering in Corporate Worship

This entry is part 8 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, we saw that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the purpose of building a “holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:21-22). This metaphor of the Spirit building believers into a temple for God narrows the focus of the Holy Spirit’s work specifically to corporate worship. The temple metaphor is not coincidental; the… 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 3 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

Holy Spirit, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Holy Spirit, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

This entry is part 2 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.

Arguably, the default expectation of contemporary evangelical worshipers is that the Holy Spirit works in worship in such a way so as to create an extraordinary experience, well expressed in the popular worship song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt: Holy spirit, You are welcome here Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere Your glory,… Continue Reading

The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship: Extraordinary Experience or Disciplined Formation?

The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship: Extraordinary Experience or Disciplined Formation?

This entry is part 1 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.

“Our church’s worship is pretty formal, but I prefer Holy Spirit-led worship.” Such was a 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

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

A critic recently approached me about our hymnal and rebuked us for (among other things) including hymns written by Catholics in our hymnal. It is no secret that we include Catholic and Orthodox hymn texts. For example, we include the very ancient Te Deum (“Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”). We include works by or attributed to… Continue Reading

How Singing Forms Us

How Singing Forms Us

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Sing to the Lord a New Song You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have seen thus far that good hymns help us to express the affections of our hearts in response to God’s character and works, which brings him great glory he deserves, and that this kind of expression in public is a great witness to the unbelieving world. But there is a second reason that we… Continue Reading