Seeking a Reformation of Worship

from Mar 07, 2010 Category: R.C. Sproul

When Israel’s prophets denounced the corruption of Israelite worship, they sought reform, not revolution. Though they vehemently criticized liturgicalism, they never attacked the liturgy. Though they railed against externalism and formalism, they never sought to remove the externals and forms God had instituted.

For the forms of worship to communicate the content they are designed to convey, there must be constant instruction so that people understand their meaning. The sacraments are not naked symbols. They must be clothed with the Word. Word and sacrament must go together. Sacrament without Word inevitably yields formalism. Word without sacrament inevitably yields a sterility of worship.

We need a reformation of worship, a new discovery of the meaning of classical forms. I cannot be casual about worshiping God. God stripped of transcendence is no God at all. There is such a thing as the Holy. The Holy is sacred. It is uncommon. It is other. It is transcendent. It is not always user-friendly. But it is relevant. It provokes adoration, which is the essence of godly worship. 

Coram Deo: Think about the sacraments and liturgy of the church you attend. Are they truly meaningful to you or have they become mere forms of ritual? 

Psalm 119:171: “My lips shall utter praise, for You teach me Your statutes.”

Psalm 108:1: “O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.”

Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” 

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