The Priority of Edification in the Christian Gathering
THE PRIORITY OF EDIFICATION IN THE CHRISTIAN GATHERING
People who emphasize that they are “going to church to worship God” tend to disregard what the New Testament says about the primary purpose of the Christian assembly. If Christians are meant to worship God in every sphere of life, it cannot be worship as such that brings them to church. “Corporate worship” may express more accurately what is involved, but Paul’s emphasis is on coming together to participate in the edification of the congregation.
To put the focus on edification is not to suggest that the church service is the one area of the Christian life where we do not worship God! The evidence accessed so far suggests that THE EXERCIS OF GIFTS in any context may be regarded as an expression of worship, if the ministries are genuinely for the benefit of others and for the glory of God. While all ministries must be understood as a response to God’s grace, and not in any sense a cultivation of his favour, ministry to others is an aspect of our service or self-giving to God. Moreover, edification is really Good’s work in our midst.
—David Peterson, in WORSHIP: ADORATION AND ACTION, edited by D. A. Carson, Chapter 3, “‘Worship in the New Testament.” (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1993), pp. 82-83. 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.
[MARK YOUR CALENDAR: David Peterson (Principal of Oak Hill College, London) will be our guest here at Southern Seminary for the Gheens Lectures on Worship, April 13 and 14, 2005. If you are unable to join us for this special opportunity, most of the lectures will be available as RealAudio files at www.sbts.edu/icw. There you will find lectures by Harold Best, Bob Kauflin, Timothy Dudley-Smith, Kevin Twit, Lester Ruth, Donald Hustad, John Witvliet, and many others.]
Have a great week.
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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