A Brief Biblical Philosophy of Worship

This was written for a summer seminary class assignment.

We believe worship to be the core activity of all peoples. The core of worship is, simply, to give glory to God. This is what we were created to do (Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 1:5-6, 11-13; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). We believe that all men are worshipers by nature and yet, because of sin, are bent to worship created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:21-25). Only a supernatural, saving work of God in the heart of man can correct this worship “exchange.”

We believe worship to include the ascribing of and attributing to God the glory and worth that He is due (Psalm 115:1), but we also believe worship to be much broader. Worship is our response to God as He initiates relationships with us through His written revelation and daily providences. Worship is always by God’s initiative and on God’s terms. From the creation of the world (Psalm 148) to the culmination of world (Revelation 4; 5; 19 & 20), God is to receive praise and worship.

We believe worship can and should be expressed individually (Psalm 26; 103:1, Matthew 6:6) and also corporately (Psalm 100; Acts 2:42-47). These personal and public acts of worship can occur within two further realms: life and liturgy. The worship in life involves an ever-present acknowledgment of and submission to God’s sovereign rule over all things and rightly responding to His proactive role in revealing His character to His creation through His Son, the Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4). There is no division, as the Puritans were known to say, between the sacred and the secular. All of life is sacred (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). The realm of liturgy is the narrower realm of structured acts of worship found among a corporate gathering of Christians. Worship is far more than the ceremonies and rituals taking place in the church building on Sunday mornings, but it certainly includes these things.

We believe, regarding our liturgy, that there is much liberty in its corporate expressions. However, there are certain biblical mandates that must be present on a regular basis, not the least of which include the faithful exposition of God’s Word (Nehemiah 8:1-8; 2 Timothy 4:1-5), giving of one’s finances (1 Corinthians 16:2; Also cf. 2 Corinthians 9:7), the two New Testament ordinances of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and Baptism (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 1:5; Acts 8:12-13), praying (Acts 2:42; Colossians 4:2-6) and singing (Psalm 7:17; 9:11; 13:6; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). We believe the outward mechanics of these acts of service are meaningless apart from a heart attitude of praise (Isaiah 29:13).

We believe that music is a kind gift of God and can be used for His glory (Psalm 33:3). We believe the best music to use in the worship of God is that which least distracts the worshiper from the true heart of worship – that is, his or her response to the Truth. We recognize the subjectivity of this decision and the cultural considerations necessary in using music as a means to effectively enhance corporate worship. We believe the under-shepherds of the local flock are best equipped to navigate these choices.

In conclusion, we believe the church’s gathering to offer corporate worship is one that must bring the utmost glory to God and in turn encourage others to launch beyond the local and liturgical and continue a life-orientation of worship that is global, grace-centered and God-initiated. These ongoing acts of authentic worship are what most please God (Psalm 51:17; Micah 6:8).

1 comment:

Crystal.Lynn said...

This was such a blessing! I actually am going to Bible college next year to study to become a Worship Pastor, so it's really encouraging to read this. Thank you!