Worship Defined

While reading a book on the doctrine of Church [1], I happened upon this definition of Christian worship:

True worship is the celebration of being in covenant fellowship with the sovereign and holy triune God, by means 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 covenant through ritual acts,

all with the confident anticipation of the fulfillment of the covenant promises in glory. [2]

The reason I like it is because other definitions include one or another of the threefold definition above and I think they miss at least part of the idea of worship.

Those who emphasize the praise aspect of worship often end up making church a place where you need your spiritual fix for the week.  Those who emphasize the obedience part tend to make worship into a moral code.  And those who emphasize the rituals end up elevating the role of church above what it should be.  Only by holding all three together do we properly worship God.

But we need to ask some practical questions here:

  • Which of these do you neglect? Why?
  • Which of these do you emphasize?  Why?

 

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Allison, Gregg R. Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church. Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series. (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012).

[2] The quote comes from Allen P. Ross in his book Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2006) 67-68.

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