The Worship Quote of the Week for (03/13/2007):

Genuine Worship Is Life Changing
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from a book that explores a biblical view of worship— one that is inspired by a right vision of God and a celebration of "the hope of glory" that is ours in and through our Savior Jesus. Author Allen Ross suggests that Christian worship is designed to satisfy four basic senses of the human spirit as it responds to God—an intellectual sense, an aesthetic sense, a corporate sense, and a moral sense. Today's selection focuses on the moral impact of worship.

In many congregations today the moral sense is addressed usually by communicating the Word of God for the purpose of meditation and of making decisions about what is righteous, just, honest, good, and compassionate. But all the other aspects of the worship must reinforce what the exposition of the Word seeks to do. In a word, worship must inspire a different ethic among the people, which in turn will have an impact on society.

But if the teaching only imparts information, and fellowship is equated with socializing, and the ritual acts are rushed and not explained, the moral sense will not be caught by the people. If worshippers leave a service with no thought of becoming more godly in their lives, then the purpose of worship has not been achieved. If they walk away from an assembly without a conviction that they need to conform their lives to Holy Scripture, even if it means changing their lifestyle, then worship has been perverted somewhere. For example, if people continue to be unkind, or mean-spirited, or self-centered, or immoral, then there has been a breakdown somewhere in the process. If they are not at peace with one another in the assembly, then they are not at peace with god and should not leave the sanctuary until they are. The clear teaching of Scripture is that genuine worship is life changing.

Genuine worship is the natural and proper response to the revelation of the holy Lord God of glory. It will bring about reverential fear, confession, sacrifice, praise, and commitment. And when worship responds correctly to divine revelation, all four spiritual senses will be satisfied so that people will grow in grace and knowledge, live out their spiritual heritage, become one in the Lord, and walk in righteousness.

— Allen P. Ross, RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY: BIBLICAL WORSHIP FROM THE GARDEN TO THE NEW CREATION. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2006, p. 60. ISBN 0-8254-3578-1. This book is a treasure—highly recommended.

[I look forward to finishing RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY. This is not a how-to book (in terms of musical styles or instrumentation for worship), but rather a why-to book. It will go on my shelf right next to David Peterson's ENGAGING WITH GOD and Noel Due's CREATED FOR WORSHIP, two other excellent books that put forth a thorough biblical theology of Christian worship. Take a look at the quote index for the WQOTW—]

Have a great week,

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

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