Worship in Romans (38)

After eleven chapters of the most profound theological thinking ever penned, the Apostle Paul ends the didactic part of his epistle to the Romans with a response praising God for the wonder of His Person and His ways, as they have been seen in the incredible truths which Paul has just been presenting. These truths have not remained lodged in his head alone, but have filled his heart as well; and he apparently cannot contain himself as he bursts forth with a song of praise to the God who has made these things possible. Paul has dug deeper into the depths of the divine mystery than anyone ever had, and there is still plenty of cause for standing and wondering at the still unplumbed depths of God’s wisdom and understanding and grace and love:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again?

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen!  (Romans 11:33-36)

 Paul was not just a great theologian; he was also a great worshiper. For Him, theology was not an end in itself; it was a means to the infinitely greater end of knowing God better and hence being able to praise Him more fully. He understood that it was for that purpose that He had been made and saved and called into ministry.

J. I. Packer once wrote: “The purpose of theology is doxology. We study in order to praise.”

—Ron Man, “The Principle of Praise: Theology Serves Doxology”

Worship in Romans (35)

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

 

Worship in Romans (14)

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

Theology and Doxology

The purpose of the theologian is to serve the church so that the people of God worship Him more faithfully.

Theology is by definition not an ivory tower discipline. It is not merely a form of academic discourse. When rightly conducted, theology is the conversation of the people of God seeking to understand the Lord whom we worship and how He wills to be worshiped.

—Albert Mohler, “The Whole Earth Is Full of his Glory: The Recovery of Authentic Worship, Part One” http://www.almohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-02-06

Theology for Life

Although very few Christians are called to be academic theologians, all Christians are called to think theologically. My conviction is that theology is relevant to Christian living. Theology that does not have some cash value for a life of obedient worship is, at best, of secondary interest.

—Robin Parry, Worshiping Trinity, 8

The Primacy of the Word in Worship

God’s Word to us matters more than our words to God. (Is. 66:2; Ps. 19:7-11)

  • Music ministry is Word ministry.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of proclaiming Word passionately.
  • Seek to know your Bible better than your instrument.
  • Lead people to sing the Word, hear the Word, see the Word, and pray the Word.

—Bob Kauflin, WorshipMatters.com 9/28/15