The Worship Quote of the Week for (05/04/2004):

New Testament Worship
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE attempts to shed some light on the notion of New Testament worship. The author is David Peterson.

If you want to start a lively conversation amongst Christians, introduce the subject of worship! For most of us that means debating styles of music, ways of conducting church services or methods of preaching. Disagreements can be heated, reflecting denominational traditions or individual preferences. Yet dissensions can also reveal profound theological differences about the nature and significance of Christian gatherings. For example, to what extent do we meet together to encounter God and to what extent to minister to each other? Is God especially present in the gathering of his people and, if so, how? Is worship fundamentally a response to God’s word in prayer and praise of is it something more? What is the relationship between congregational worship and the worship or service due to God in everyday life? Is there any warrant in the New Testament for sacred times and sacred places? . . .

Worship is a comprehensive category in the New Testament, describing our ENGAGEMENT WITH GOD THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US. Such faith will express itself in daily obedience or service to God in every sphere of live. What we do “in church” must be considered as a vital part of that engagement with God but it is misleading to confine the notion of worship to that activity: “our traditional understanding of worship as restricted to the cultic gathering of the congregation at a designated time and place for rite and proclamation will no longer do. This is not what the New Testament means by worship.”

—David Peterson, in WORSHIP: ADORATION AND ACTION, edited by D. A. Carson, Chapter 3, “‘Worship in the New Testament.” (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1993), p. 51-52. ISBN 0-8010-2584-2. Other authors in this volume include D. A. Carson, Edmund Clowney, Roger Beckwith, Alistair Brown, and Miroslav Volf. Highly recommended.

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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