Dluxe's World

Friday, February 3

Thoughts on "Give Praise to God" - Part 1 of 7237

One of the 'challenges' in posting a blog is that there are more than a handful of times that you're not really sure what to say to the world. You sit staring at your 'last update', fully realizing that it was over a week ago, and your mind churns trying to figure out something witty or substantive to say to your flock of readers (be they real, or imagined).

I think I'll have plenty of ammo over the next couple weeks, however. I was loaned a very interesting book by Pastor Tim called "Give Praise to God - A Vision for Reforming Worship". The book is a tribute (festschrift for the nerdy) to Reverend James Boice who was Pastor of Philadelphia's famed Tenth Street Presbyterian church for a number of years. Dr. Boice was the founder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and a respected leader in this resurgence of Reformed Theology.

The book is long-ish, fairly dense, and my reading time limited. I usually pull my posts together at home in the evenings, so I have to prioritize reading or posting about what I'm reading. All this is to say that this will be a long series of reflections...

To start it off, lemme frame the overarching theme of the book as it is presented early on... As followers of Christ, we are called to live lives that are essentially defined by our worship of God. As the Westminster Catechism states, our "chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever". But what, exactly, should that look like in corporate worship settings? Have we redefined how we should worship God to suit our own selfish (and sinful) purposes? If so, what is the proper, Biblical, 'regulative' admonishments for worship that we should be observing?

To quote Dr. Boice himself:
Whenever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God's and we are doing his work in our own way. The loss of God's centrality in the life of today's church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us. [emphasis mine]

To this, I can offer a full-voiced 'Amen!'... As I've noted previously, there are phenomenon in the church that (while pehaps well intentioned) seem to set people and our personal desires for what church should be above what God stated as His purpose for the church. In a very real way, there are churches that seem to be recasting God's part in the cosmos... Images of a politician seeking photo-ops with babies/kittens or John Kerry hunting come to mind.

God is God. Period. As such, He's not searching for some marketing agency to tell Him how to rebrand Himself so it takes hold with today's wired youth. Instead, He gets to define in His own pleasure how/when/where we worship. Coloring outside the lines isn't 'creative worship', it's rebellion (as shown here and here).

Yet God hasn't left us adrift. His Word provides us an authoritative guide to how we can rightly approach God in corporate and private worship. This 'regulative principle' of worship is something I jive with fairly strongly. However, this would be a boring series of posts if all I did was agree with the book, right?

Right. However, I noted how long I was talking... So I clipped the bomb-dropping grumbling for next time. Aren't you happy?

You should be... Or this post would be three or four times as long.

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