Definition of Worship
example of anything concise. In fact, author D. A. Carson admits that his
definition for worship "is too long and too complex." He then takes
thirty-six pages to give a rather thorough exposition of his definition. I
have found this to be very helpful.
A DEFINITION OF WORSHIP
WORSHIP is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God,
ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because he is
worthy, delightfully so. This side of the Fall, HUMAN WORSHIP of God properly
responds to the redemptive provisions that God has graciously made. While all
true worship is God-centered, CHRISTIAN WORSHIP is no less Christ-centered.
Empowered by the Spirit and in line with the stipulations of the new
covenant, it manifests itself in all our living, finding its impulse in the
gospel, which restores our relationship with our Redeemer-God and therefore
also with our fellow image-bearers, our co-worshipers. Such worship therefore
manifests itself both in adoration and in action, both in the individual
believer and in CORPORATE WORSHIP, which is worship offered up in the context
of the body of believers, who strive to align all the forms of their devout
ascription of all worth to God with the panoply of new covenant mandates and
examples that bring to fulfillment the glories of antecedent revelation and
anticipated the consummation.
— D. A. Carson, "Worship under the Word," chapter one of WORSHIP BY THE BOOK,
edited by D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, p. 26. ISBN
0-310-21625-7. Other chapters in this book are by Kent Hughes, Timothy
Keller, and Mark Ashton. Highly recommended!
[Whew!! That’s a mouthful. The rest of the chapter carefully unpacks each
phrase of the definition, showing appropriate rationale and biblical support.
I have a feeling that there will be more than a few seminary students who
will be studying this material.]
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary