The Worship Quote of the Week for (08/28/2007):

Evaluating Everything in Worship
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is another powerful excerpt from Allen Ross's RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY. The author reminds us that a congregation should always be in a posture of "committed to reform" if that is what is required to insure that our worship practices are faithful to biblical norms.

Too many Christians have settled into a familiar routine called worship; they are not comfortable with change, and they are afraid to do things that might look like what other denominations do. But worship is one of those aspects of the Christian faith that must continue to grow and flourish, or it will cease to have the dynamic impact it can have on believers who must cope with life in this world. There is no reason for individual congregations to change everything they have been doing; but there is every reason for all congregations to evaluate everything they are doing to see how they can do it better. And the test for this evaluation is how well the worship activities transform the lives of believers for service in this life and fit them for glory.

There is no need to reiterate here all the things that Jesus and the apostles taught and all the ways that the early church tried to develop biblical and meaningful worship. All that remains to be said here is what James said to the early church: "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22 NKJV). To assist us in finding more and more ways to do what pleases God, God has given us a revelation of things to come, and especially a revelation of what worship will be like when we actually enter into the presence of our holy Lord.

— Allen P. Ross, RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY: BIBLICAL WORSHIP FROM THE GARDEN TO THE NEW CREATION. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2006, p. 470. ISBN 0-8254-3578-1.

[Perhaps you are familiar with the Reformation motto ECCLESIA REFORMATA, SEMPER REFORMANDA, or "The church Reformed [and] always reforming." Of course, this doesn’t mean that God is changing, or that his requirements for faithful Christian worship need to be altered through the decades or centuries. No. Rather, in the face of cultural changes all around us, we understand that the church must be vigilant to continually test our practices against the norms of Scripture. Shall we look to Hollywood, or Madison Avenue, or Nashville, or Wall Street to determine how the 'bride of Christ" should prepare and wait? Or should we look to the trusted Word of "the Groom" in the pages of Holy Writ?]

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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