The Worship Quote of the Week for (05/12/2009):

Worship Is a Transitive Verb
What does it mean for Christian worship to be God-centered? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from pastor-scholar Ligon Duncan's chapter in a new book titled PERSPECTIVES ON CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: FIVE VIEWS. Highly recommended.

Christian worship is all about God. He is the object of our worship, the focus of our worship. We gather as a congregation, not to seek an experience but to meet with God and give Him praise. The WHOM of worship is central to true worship (John 4:22, 24). It is what the first commandment is all about. We aim to worship the God of the Bible. Many Christians leave Sunday services asking, "What did worship do for me?" Yet it is more helpful and more biblical to think just the opposite. "What did I give to God in worship?" "How did I encourage the brothers and sisters to praise Christ for His grace?" "How did I take advantage of the means of grace in order to glorify God?" Ask not what this service will do for you, but what you will give to God through this service--the rest will take care of itself. D. A. Carson puts it this way:

"Should we not remind ourselves that worship is a TRANSITIVE verb [a verb that requires a direct object]? We do not meet to worship (i.e., to experience worship): we aim to worship GOD. 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only': there is the heart of the matter. In this area, one must not confuse what is central with byproducts. If you seek peace, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find peace. If you seek joy, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find joy. If you seek holiness, you will not find it; if you seek Christ, you will find holiness. If you seek experiences of worship, you will not find them; if you worship the living God, you will experience something of what is reflected in the Psalms. Worship is a transitive verb, and the most important thing about it is the direct object." []

-- Ligon Duncan. From "Traditional Evangelical Worship," from PERSPECTIVES ON CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: FIVE VIEWS. Edited by J. Matthew Pinson; contributors: Timothy C. J. Quill, Dan Wilt, Michael Lawrence, Mark Dever, and Dan Kimball. Nashville: B&W; Academic, 2009, p. 115-16. ISBN: 978-0-8054-4099-2. Highly recommended.

The other chapters are

Liturgical Worship -- Timothy C. J. Quill
Contemporary Worship -- Dan Wilt
Blended Worship -- Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever
Emerging Worship -- Dan Kimball

Parts One through Eight of a Worship Conversation with
Harold Best, Carl Stam, and Mike Cosper

Have a great week,

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

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