It is important to note from Romans 1–11 that theology (our belief about God) and doxology (our worship of God) should never be separated. On the one hand, there can be no doxology without theology. It is not possible to worship an unknown god. All true worship is a response to the self-revelation of God in Christ and Scripture, and arises from our reflection on who He is and what He has done. It was the tremendous truths of Romans 1–11 which provoked Paul’s outburst of praise in verses 33-36 of chapter 11. The worship of God is evoked, informed and inspired by the vision of God. Worship without theology is bound to degenerate into idolatry. Hence the indispensable place of Scripture in both public and private devotion. It is the Word of God which calls forth the worship of God.
On the other hand, there should be no theology without doxology. There is something fundamentally flawed about a purely academic interest in God. God is not an appropriate object for cool, critical, detached, scientific observation and evaluation. No, the true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship, as it did Paul. Our place is on our faces before him in adoration.
As I believe Bishop Handley Moule said at the end of the last century, we must “beware equally of an undevotional theology and of an untheological devotion.”
-—John Stott, Romans: God’s Good News for the World, 311-12
We are accepted by God, not because we have offered worthy worship, but in spite of our unworthiness, because He has provided for us a Worship, a Way, a Sacrifice, a Forerunner in Christ our Leader and Representative, and our worship is our joyful Amen to that Worship. This is the heart of all true Christian worship. It is our response of faith to God’s grace. So we worship God “through Jesus Christ our Lord”, and pray “in the name of Jesus Christ.”
—James B. Torrance, “The Place of Jesus Christ in Worship”, in Theological Foundations for Ministry, 352
True worship involves certain reverential acts of submission and homage before the divine sovereign in response to His gracious revelation of Himself and in accordance with His will.
—Daniel Block, For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship, 23
Christian worship is the full and authentic expression of our hearts towards God in response to the full and authentic revelation of God’s heart towards us in His word.
An encounter between God and his people, in which God graciously initiates the relationship, and the people respond with praise, thanks, and love.
—Mary L. Conway, “Worship Music: Maintaining Dynamic Tension,” McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry” 7 (2006):133
Worship is the totality of our grateful, obedient response to God’s initiative in revelation and redemption.
Worship is our response to the glory of God:
Recognizing His glory with our minds
Cherishing His glory with our hearts
Proclaiming His glory with our mouths
Celebrating His glory in all of life