An End In Itself

In worship, the members of the church focus on God; in instruction and fellowship, they focus on themselves and fellow Christians; in evangelism, they turn their attention to non-Christians.  

—Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 1066-1067

All evangelistic activities of the church have as their goal finding more worshipers for God; all edification activities of the church have as their goal making better worshipers for God.

—Ron Man

The only parochial [church] activities which have any real justification are those which spring from worship and in their turn nourish it.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship: Its Theology and Practice, 55-56

Worship is the only Christian activity which is an end in itself.

—John Piper

For the Church

Worship is indeed for the Church, while it waits for the Kingdom, the time and place par excellence at which it finds its own deep identity….What makes the Church first glimpse, and then see clearly, its true face is meeting with Christ and learning from Him what sort of Bride it is that He loves. It is on Christ’s face that the Church learns who it is.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, “The Theological Fame of a Liturgical Renewal,” Church Quarterly 2(1969-70), 8

The Primacy of Worship

The only parochial [church] activities which have any real justification are those which spring from worship and in their turn nourish it.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship: Its Theology and Practice, 55-56

Worship is the only Christian activity which is an end in itself.

—John Piper

All evangelistic activities of the church have as their goal finding more worshipers for God; all edification activities of the church have as their goal making better worshipers for God.

—Ron Man

In and Out

It is by its worship that the Church lives, it is there that its heart beats. And in fact the life of the Church pulsates like the heart by systole and diastole. As the heart is for the animal body, so the cult [worship service] is for church life a pump which sends into circulation and draws in again, it claims and it sanctifies. It is from the life of worship…that the Church spreads itself abroad into the world to mingle with it like leaven in the dough, to give it savour like salt, to irradiate like light, and it is towards the cult that the Church returns from the world like a fisherman gathering up his nets or a farmer harvesting his grain.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship: Its Theology and Practice, 55-56

The Place of Worship

The true temple of God is the Body of Christ, the physical body of Jesus, His flesh, that which the apostles saw and touched with their hands. It is on this basic truth, as on a cornerstone, that the whole teaching of Peter and Paul about the Church as the Body of Christ and the Temple of God rests. The place of worship, therefore, is essentially the place where Christ is found. Now Christ is found where two or three are gathered in His name (Matt. 18:20). Hence the place of Christian worship is the assembled Church. It is not primarily a building but an assembly, and if, as we shall see, buildings made with human hands (cf. Mark 14:58; Acts 7:48; 17:24; Heb. 9:11; 24) can become places of worship, it is simply because they are intended to house the assembled liturgical people.  But it is the people who are the temple.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship Its Theology and Practice, 241-242

Worship at the Center

The cult [worship gathering] is in some sense the criterion of parochial [congregational] life: whatever is entitled to its place in worship, whatever stands the test of being orientated by worship, whatever provides conditions for the ready fruition of worship, is healthy; whatever does not stand up to these tests in unhealthy. A catechesis which had not the intention of supporting “worshippers whom the Father seeks” (John 4:23) would be faulty. A parochial organization which was indifferent to rooting itself first of all in the cult would be parasitic. A diaconate which did not clearly emerge as an answer to the Church’s intercession would be profane. When we see the agitation which overtakes some parishes and which causes them to confuse insomnia with vigilance, we sometimes feel that we would like to impose on them a sabbatical year during which they would abstain from all activity except that of the Church’s worship, in order that they should learn once again to measure by that standard what they must do and what they can leave aside. And probably they could leave undone many more things than they in their feverish activity imagine.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship: Its Theology and Practice, 55