The Worship Quote of the Week for (03/10/2009):

Kerygmatic Doxology: Proclamation and Acclamation
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is another from Hughes Oliphant Old's book THEMES AND VARIATIONS FOR A CHRISTIAN DOXOLOGY. I have learned so much from this book. The volume is out of print, but there are new and used copies available at

Let us speak now of kerygmatic doxology. By KERYGMATIC DOXOLOGY we mean worship as proclamation. It was not until New Testament times that biblical worship became kerygmatic in the most proper sense, but the beginnings of kerygmatic doxology are found in the acclamations of the Temple. Proclamation begins with acclamation. The most popular acclamation of the Temple was "Hallelujah." Another was "The LORD reigns," as we find in Psalms 93, 97, and 99. And still another was that festive shout, "O give thanks to the LORD for he is good: for his steadfast love endures forever," found as a sort of antiphon in Psalms 105, 106, 107, 118, and 136. The song of the seraphim heard by Isaiah, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isaiah 6:3) is surely to be understood as an acclamation. Ike the acclamations that greeted the arrival of an earthly king, these liturgical acclamations greeted the presence of the heavenly sovereign.

The essential point of an acclamation is that it recognizes the presence of an august personage. It is an expression of awe and wonder. It is the appropriate reaction to majesty. . . .

Acclamation is at the core of the biblical concept of praise. In fact, it is so basic to the concept of praise that one could say that all the hymns of praise found in the Bible spring form the basic acclamation, "Hallelujah." Many of the psalms were chanted with "Hallelujah" as a constantly recurring refrain. Indeed, the worship of the Temple reverberated with this acclamation. A good commentary of the meaning of HALLELUJAH is found in Psalms 146-150, the last five psalms in the Psalter. . . .

[In the rest of the chapter, the author unfolds the proclamation and acclamation of God's greatness found in an amazing array of Scripture, preaching, and Christian song:

Psalms 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150
Psalms 95 and 100
Exodus 34:6 (Moses on Mt. Sinai)
Luke 4:18-19 (Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth)
Rev. 5:12 ("Worthy is the Lamb who was slain")
The early church worship recorded in the DIDACHE
The oldest Christian hymn, the GLORIA IN EXCELCIS
TRIS HAGION from the Byzantine liturgy
The Latin hymns of St. Ambrose
The music of Pachelbel, Buxtehude, and Bach
John and Charles Wesley
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
and the hymns of Fanny Crosby]

-- Hughes Oliphant Old, THEMES AND VARIATIONS FOR A CHRISTIAN DOXOLOGY: SOME THOUGHTS ON THE THEOLOGY OF WORSHIP. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992, pp. 41-62 . ISBN 0-8028-0614-7. Highly recommended!

[Hughes Oliphant Old delivered the 2009 Mullins Lectures on Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 3-5, 2009. He is the author of the mammoth multivolume study, THE READING AND PREACHING OF THE SCRIPTURES IN THE WORSHIP OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Eerdmans). Note that three audio lectures on "Preaching as Worship" can be accessed at]

Have a great week,

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

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