Thoughts from "Worship By The Book"

Just started reading D.A. Carson’s Worship By The Book and I’m pretty impressed so far. I’ve heard Carson speak at a conference and I was amazed at both his elegance and his well-organized thought process.

I thought it might be mutually beneficial if I (from time-to-time) recorded a few impressions about this book. The most striking thing so far is the definition of worship and the philosophical and scriptural evidence that follows.

The authors submit that worship is a proper response to God for four reasons, which are then explained. As I read through the reasons, I thought, “Hey, this is the kinda’ stuff worship leaders need to tell their congregations!” I think most of us would like to do more teaching on worship but probably feel inadequate. Let me share the four reasons from the book and then expand on the first (according to Carson and his writer friends.)

  1. Because worship is commanded.
  2. Because God is worthy of it.
  3. Because He alone is Creator.
  4. Because of God’s expectations.

WORSHIP IS COMMANDED
Worship is variously commanded and encouraged.

  • “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. (1 Chr. 16:29)
  • “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Ps. 95:6-7)
  • “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Ps. 100:2)
  • “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Matt. 4:10)
  • Worship of any other god is idolatry. (Ps. 81:9, Isa. 46:6, Dan 3:15, 28)
  • It’s a mark of terrible judgment when God gives people over to the worship of false Gods. (Acts 7:42-43)

God has no rival. None other can receive the praise that’s His.
We might like to worship, but enjoying it is of little consequence. It’s commanded.

This is a great way for us to talk about worship in our congregation because it’s so radically different from what most of us think and say (“You guys should worship…’cause you should. So do it.”)

Let’s find a way to remind our people that worship is something God commands us to do. Let’s get past the goose bumps or bad attitudes or self-focus. Let’s bring our folks back to what God says about worship.

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2 comments

  1. daniel

    Thanks for this. I'm looking forward to more. The book has been on my shelf for a while now. Maybe I'll pick it up when I hear your review of the whole.

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