The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/07/2009):

Worship: A Working Definition, Part One
There is a health update at the end of this message.
Please see the note below about music/worship study at
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
is available at

Todayís WORSHIP QUOTE is part one of Allen Ross's work to develop a definition of Christian worship. For other great worship quotations from this author's book RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY: BIBLICAL WORSHIP FROM THE GARDEN TO THE NEW CREATION, see

Any definition of Christian worship must be formulated within the framework of the Trinitarian nature of the faith. Our worship must be God-centered. This should be obvious, but we often lose sight of it and focus our attention on people. If worship loses its God-centeredness, it ceases to be holy convocation and may become something akin to a common assembly, a rally, a theatrical performance, or an awards ceremony. This is not true worship. People should come away from a worship service with a fresh awareness of the majesty of God, with a desire to glorify God, and with renewed commitment to serve God.

Second, worship must be in Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world and brought salvation to us. Because he is the full revelation of the Godhead and the one way of access to the Father, he must be the focal point of worship. If he is not and we try to worship God without reference to the divine Son of God, then we have failed to follow God's revelation through to its culmination in the plan of redemption. Believers should come away from a worship service with a renewed assurance of the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, of forgiveness through his blood, of acceptance into his eternal kingdom. And with a fresh commitment to give him the preeminence (Col. 1:18)

Third, because the Holy Spirit is the one who enables all spiritual service, all genuine worship must be by the Spirit. Without falling into the error of denying the physical part of worship, we must recognize that worship is to be spiritual--inspired by by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, genuine and life-giving because it flows from the Spirit. And as this happens, the Spirit will not draw attention to himself but will point to Christ, will not lead into error but into righteousness, and will not produce responses that are foreign or out of harmony with the Word of God but will empower the Word to produce fruit in the lives of the worshippers. When worshippers come away from a service that is truly spiritual, they will come away with zeal to love and serve the Lord. It will not be contrived or forced, and it will not be momentary enthusiasm; rather, the Spirit will continue to work in them to produce godliness.

--Allen P. Ross, RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY: BIBLICAL WORSHIP FROM THE GARDEN TO THE NEW CREATION. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2006, pp. 66-67. ISBN 0-8254-3578-1. Highly recommended.

Perhaps you have heard about the recent changes at Southern Seminary. I canít tell you how many people have contacted me, asking if I would come teach somewhere else since my job had been terminated. FUNNY! Here is the real story: The School of Church Music and Worship and the Leadership School at SBTS have been brought into a single school which is now called The School of Church Ministries. Dr. Thomas Bolton is stepping down as dean (after nine years), and he will continue to teach after a well-deserved sabbatical. I have been granted tenure and look forward to getting back to the classroom and the podium as my strength returns. I will continue to serve as the director of the Institute for Christian Worship. Dr. Esther Crookshank has been named director of the new Academy of Sacred Music that will oversee the Seminary Music Academy, the R. Inman Johnson Concert Series, and certain lectures on hymnology and the like. Dr. Douglas Smith plans to retire in December. Dr. Greg Brewton will oversee the music portion of the new school. Dr. Ronald Turner and Dr. Sandra Turner are still here and going strong. That gives you a little glimpse of things ahead. We are still admitting students and look forward to many, many years of training church musicians for service in the Lord's precious church. Please pray for us and let me hear from you if there are prospective students whom I should contact (


Dear Praying Friends,

There are some new photos and longer journal entries at See also

I came home from the hospital on June 23. Praise God! We are so thankful. Currently, I have about 65% of my normal energy. They say that in four to six weeks (after coming home) I should feel more like myself. I still nap a lot, and I watched nearly everything that Wimbledon had to offer. My immune system should be back to normal in about six months. I will see the doctor again on July 10, and I am hoping that they will give me the OK to drive. Doris, Clara, and I (joined by our two sons from NC) spent three days with Doris's extended family in the mountains of NC (July 1-4). What a joy!

Please read the important note above about music and worship studies at our seminary.

Thanks for praying for my full and permanent recovery.

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

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