The House of God

Worship shapes individual  and community character. In specific terms, it must be relational rather than institutional. For example—and here the trivial makes the point—we almost inevitably hear the person leading worship welcome people into the house of God. This is emphatically not the case! At best, the worship leader may welcome the house of God into the building in which they are meeting! Any language that suggests that the life of the people of God is known in its institutional and physical structures must be rejected.

—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 234

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The Church Gathered for Worship

The true nature of the Church does not come from its structure or its catechesis, but from its worship. The Church is not an institution or an organism, it is a liturgical assembly. The Church is most clearly self-identified as the Church when it is gathered for worship.

—Ron Rienstra, drawing on the writings of Jean-Jacques von Allmen

The Ministry of Song 10

What is too rarely seen by commentators is that the discussion of singing and the glorification of God, in [Romans] 15:5-13, most likely comes about because Paul still has in mind the same gatherings of the Roman believers [cf. the discussion about common meals in chapter 14], which combine, at a minimum, eating together, and singing together. In Romans  15:5-7 we read, “May the God of endurance and encouragement  grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” The unity which Paul has been calling for is to be expressed in united praise, here described literally as glorifying God “with one mouth” (en eni stomati). The outworking of Jews and Gentiles welcoming one another “for the glory of God,” is to glory God with one another. And this is expressed in particular through spoken or sung praise.

—John W. Taylor, “The Lord’s Supper in Romans: The Common Meal and United Worship in Romans 14–15 as Demonstration of the Gospel”

REFORMATION 500: The Church

First, there was the insistence on the church as the divine community through which and in which worship is offered to God. We are still far from understanding the full significance of the doctrine of the church in the thought of the Reformers. It is sometimes held not only by the opponents but by the adherents of Protestantism that the Reformation meant the triumph of religious individualism over against the conception of a divine community, continuous and universal. Yet we may read as strong an expression of the priority and centrality of the Church in the writings of the Reformers as in any Roman or Anglican document.

—Rev. D. H. C. Read, “The Reformation of Worship,” Scottish Journal of Theology 8:1 (March 1955):72

Come, Holy Spirit (4)

[Acts 2] forms something of a parallel, in Acts, to the baptism of Jesus in the gospel, and thus demands to be understood not simply as a fascinating and initiatory incident in the very early life of the church but as the story which must be held in the mind as a kind of running heading for all that is to follow. Just as Jesus’ baptism and anointing with the Spirit in Luke 3 is to be understood as standing behind and explaining everything else, from His “Messianic” proclamation in Luke 4 to His messianic death and resurrection, so that coming of the Spirit in Acts 2 is to be understood as standing behind and explaining everything else that the church then does, particularly its worship, its mission and its bold stand in obeying God rather than human authorities. Thus, when Luke later tells us that the Christians gathered together were all filled with the Spirit and spoke God’s word with boldness, this should be understood not as a fresh and momentary filling, repeating Pentecost as it were on a strictly temporary basis, but as a fresh manifestation of what had been the case all along since Pentecost itself. The church from Acts 2 onwards is the Spirit-led church, with worship as a integral part of its proper life.

—N. T. Wright, “Worship and the Spirit in the New Testament,” 4