The Mercy Seat

Approach, my soul, the mercy seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before His feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea;
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bowed down beneath a load of sin;
By Satan sorely pressed;
By wars without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.

Be Thou my shield and hiding place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died.

O wondrous love! to bleed and die;
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious name.

Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still;
My promised grace receive;
I’ll work in thee both power and will;
Thou shalt in me believe.

—John Newton (1725-1807)

Theology and Worship

I think that Athanasius was correct that Christian theology and worship should be required to have some genuinely mutual relationship.  This means that debates among theologians about God and Christology are not simply about intellectual issues but also have to do with the central devotional practice of Christian churches.

—Larry W. Hurtado, At the Origins of Christian Worship, 102

The Supreme Activity

Worship is the supreme and only indispensable activity of the Christian Church. It alone will endure, like the love for God which it expresses, into heaven, when all other activities of the Church will have passed away. It must therefore, even more strictly than any of the less essential doings of the Church, come under the criticism and control of the revelation on which the Church is founded.

—William Nicholls, Jacob’s Ladder: The Meaning of Worship, 9

Wrong Perspectives on Worship

“Let’s pray that God will show up,”

“If we can get 100,000 people to gather for a praise festival, God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so great you won’t even have enough room to take it in (Malachi 3:10).”

“When we sing to His glory, He starts to work.”

“If we work hard, put in the hours; worship hard enough, God will honor and reward that by blessing us.”

—collected by Jan den Ouden