The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/14/2009):

Worship: A Working Definition, Part Two
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 still available at

Have you begun to gather a list of definitions for Christian worship? I have learned so much by studying what various pastors and scholars have done to carve out the essentials of what it means to worship the one true and living God—the triune God of the Scriptures. Many of these definitions have been a part of the WQOTW over the years. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is part two of Allen Ross's work to develop a definition of Christian worship. (Part one is at 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

The following definition provides a concise statement of the essence of worship, followed by clarification of how it is expressed in the acts of worship. It is designed to be the starting point for a thorough study on the subject of worship.

True worship is
the celebration of being in covenant fellowship with the
sovereign and holy triune God,
by the merits of
the reverent adoration and spontaneous praise
of God's nature and works,
the expressed commitment of trust and
obedience to the covenant responsibilities, and
the memorial reenactment of entering into
through ritual acts,
all with the confident anticipation of the fulfillment
of the covenant promises in glory.

The choice of the word "celebration" as the key word is appropriate. The word captures all the festivity and the ritual and the praise that is present in biblical worship. And if the worship is led by the Spirit and in conformity with the Word, then the celebration will not deteriorate into pagan or worldly festivities. [The author takes several pages to unpack this definition and to set the tone for the rest of the book--recalling the hope of glory.]

--Allen P. Ross, RECALLING THE HOPE OF GLORY: BIBLICAL WORSHIP FROM THE GARDEN TO THE NEW CREATION. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2006, pp. 67-68. ISBN 0-8254-3578-1. Highly recommended.

Perhaps you have heard about the recent changes in music study at Southern Seminary. I can’t 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 this semester. 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 new photos and longer journal entries at See also for past updates and comments.

I have now been home from the hospital for three full weeks. The visit to the cancer clinic on July 10 was very encouraging. My "numbers" are strong and they have cleared me to drive and to eat anything I feel like eating. We are so thankful. Now we continue on the slow road towards regaining my full strength. In general, the doctors and nurses suggest that the more I am able to be "up and about," the better—still lots of naps, though. I plan to teach at the seminary beginning in mid-August. Praise God!

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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