The Worship Quote of the Week for (01/27/2004):

Where's the Word in Worship?
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is another from a wonderful new book written in honor of the legacy of James Montgomery Boice. As senior minister of Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church from 1968 until his death in 2000, Dr. Boice consistently emphasized the priority of biblical worship. This selection highlights the “ouch factor” in the meager amount of Scripture that is heard in many evangelical church services, even churches that boast a high regard for the Word of God.

One of the striking things about evangelical corporate worship in our times is the evident paucity of Scripture. There is relatively little Scripture read, prayed, or sung in our assemblies. While high liturgical traditions continue to infuse services with scriptural language via lectionaries and other devices, even when there is little actual clerical or congregational esteem for the final authority of God’s word written, it is a supreme irony that in evangelical worship (the gathered praise of those who among all Christians profess to take the Bible most seriously) the Bible often almost disappears.

—Terry L. Johnson and J. Ligon Duncan III, from chapter seven, “Reading and Praying the Bible in Corporate Worship,” in GIVE PRAISE TO GOD: A VISION FOR REFORMING WORSHIP, edited by Philip Graham Ryken, Derek W. H. Thomas, and J. Ligon Duncan III, Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R; Publishing, 2004, p. 140. ISBN 087552-553-9

[If you would like to hear Ligon Duncan discuss this issue in a recorded conversation with Mark Dever, Bob Kauflin and Chip Stam, listen to the RealAudio file located at This recording is provided courtesy of the Nine Marks Ministries (formerly the Center for Church Reform).]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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