Scripture-Based Worship

A worship service in which all words spoken, from first to last, are words from Scripture—such a service will be rigged and ready to sail into the waters that flow from the throne room of God (Rev. 22). God has chosen, in mysterious divine wisdom, this collection of documents that comprise our Bible to be the means by which we are formed to be the people of faith. God has chosen, in mysterious divine wisdom, this Bible to be one of the means by which Christ is presented to us in our gathered worship. God has chosen, in mysterious divine wisdom, this Bible to be the means of our comfort, judgment, instruction, hope, lament, and vision. It would be a great folly for us to fill our worship service with words—mountains of words—that do not find their source in this God-appointed well.

—Leanne Van Dyk, “Proclamation: Revelation, Christology,” A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony, 69-70.

The Neglected Trinity (18)

Overemphasis of one person to the exclusion of the others is in fact a virtual denial of the true God. The Father without the Son and Spirit may be treated as a first cause but not as creator; the Son without the Father and Spirit leads to a Jesuology of one who does not lead us in salvation to the Father or give the Spirit. And the Spirit without the Father and the Son may emphasize our subjective experience or the variety of gifts but is loosed from his true context in the divine life.

—John Thompson, Modern Trinitarian Perspectives95

At the Center

At the center of the New Testament stands not our religious experience, not our faith or repentance or decision, however important these are, but a unique relationship between Jesus and the Father—a life of shared communion, mission, and service into which we are invited.

—Dennis Okholm, Learning Theology through the Church’s Worship: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 97 

The Missing Jewel

Man was made to worship God. God gave man a harp and He said, “Here! Above all creatures that I have made and created, I have given you the largest harp. I put more strings on your instrument, and I’ve given you a wider range than I have given to any other creature. You can worship Me in a manner that no other creature can.”

When man sinned, he took that instrument and he threw it down in the mud. And there it has lain for centuries, rusted and broken and unstrung. And man, instead of playing a harp like the angels and seeking to worship God in all of his activities, is ego-centered and turns on himself, and sulks and swears and laughs and sings, and it’s all without joy and without worship.

Worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We’re organized, we work, we have our churches, we have our agendas, we have almost everything. But there is one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: and that is the ability to worship. We are not cultivating the art of worship. It’s the one shining gem that is lost to the modern church. And, I believe, we ought to search for this until we find it.

—A.W. Tozer (1961)

Old Things

The content of public worship is of immense importance. Writing in a different context, P. T. Forsyth said, “The preacher is not there to astonish people with the unheard of, he is there to revive them in what they have long heard.” What is so for preaching—which is in itself an act of worship which is foundational to any public assembly for worship—is also true for the context in which preaching takes place. Every element of the public worship of the people of God must communicate the true content of the faith, which finds its focus on the person and work of Jesus the Messiah.

—Noel Due, Created for Worship, 235

A Means to an End

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

—C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

Music is a wonderful tool. But it makes a terrible god.

Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters Jul 7, 2017