The Reformation of Worship


In Holy Scripture, the corporate worship of God’s people, the worship of the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s House, is the defining center and the great engine of the life of faith. In the context of a discussion of such worship, our Savior said that the Father seeks true worshippers who will worship him in Spirit and in truth. Without denying or minimizing the importance of private devotion, the Bible lays unmistakable emphasis on the priority of the church’s worship together.

It devotes much more space to the regulation of that worship. The corruption and reformation of corporate worship is the principle means by which the spiritual health of God’s people is measured. The devout prize it above all other things (Ps 27:4; 84:10). As a rule, there is more of the presence, manifestation, and blessing of God in it than in either private (Ps. 63:1-2; 73:17) or family worship (Ps. 87:1-2). Corporate worship continued to be the center of Christian life in the new epoch (Acts 2:46-47). And, it is the corporate worship of God’s people that most nearly approximates the worship of heaven, for, so far as the Scripture describes it, all the worship of the saints in heaven is corporate.

Throughout the ages the worship of God’s people together, especially the high worship of the Lord’s Day, has conveyed either life or death to the hearts of God’s people. To a far greater degree than most Christians realize, their spiritual health, vitality, and fruitfulness depends mightily on the church’s worship of God being what it ought to be and its reformation according to the Scripture, the gospel, and the practice of the best and holiest eras of Christian history.

With that conviction and to the end of seeking such reformation and the blessing of it for God’s people we have thought long and hard about our worship at Faith Presbyterian Church and continue to do so. We have made many changes and will make more as careful study and reflection lead us to recognize in what other ways our worship together may be purified, made more biblical, and brought into closer conformity to the best traditions of the church.

In coming issues, I intend to consider our worship as a whole and in its parts, to describe the principles that govern our worship here, to explain the changes that have been made over the years, and to anticipate changes to come. I offer all of this in hopes of deepening our understanding of and our sense of meaningful participation in our corporate worship, and of enlarging our expectations when we come to the house of God on the Lord’s Day.