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Readings

Thissessiondoesnothaveanyallocatedreadingsassociatedwithit.

DefiningChristianWorship
Objectives:
1. 2. 3. 4. Differentiatebetweenindividualandcorporateworship Discusssomemisconceptionsaboutworship BriefoverviewofwhattheBiblestatesaboutworship DevelopaworkingdefinitionforChristianWorship

Outcomes:
AttheendofthesessionthestudentwillbeexpectedtoformaconcisedefinitionofChristianWorship; accountingforkeypointsdiscussedduringthesession.

1. Individual and Corporate Worship


It is important to differentiate between individual and corporate worship because without a clear distinction worshippers can find themselves participating in corporate worship with an individualistic approachandviceversa.

IndividualWorship
Worship that is conducted while alone is generally regarded as individualworship.Individualworship,whichisoftenreferredtoas devotion or personal piety, can be expressed in a number of ways including: a. Prayer:Jesusmodelsalifeofsolitaryprayerthroughoutthe gospels (Mark 1:35; 6:4647). Paul observes (1 Thess. 2:1) andencourages(1Thess.5:17)unceasingprayer. b. StudyofScripture:Reading,memorisationandexplorationofGodsWordareallexpressionsof individualworship(2Tim3:1517;Eph.6:17).

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c. SelfDiscipline:Whowearewhenwearealone,andhowwechoosetosubjectourbodiesfor theserviceofthegospelisaformofpersonalpiety(1Cor.9:24). d. Fasting:Aformofselfdiscipline,fastingcanbeapositivewayoffocusingourdevotiononGod (2Cor.11:27). e. Thanksgiving:Maintainingathankfulheartiswonderfulformofgodlyfocus(1Thess.5:18). Whiletheworshipoftheindividualmergesintothatofthefellowship,andalsointo general uprightness of life and conduct, the personal exercise of religion is an importantaspectofworshipintheNewTestament(Webber,1993,p.106)

CorporateWorship
The gathering of Gods people enables the collective response of praise and adoration. Jesus has promisedthatwheretwoorthreearegatheredinHisname,Hewillbeintheirmidst.DavidPeterson (1992)highlights,JesusteachinghereinvitescomparisonwiththeassertionoftheRabbisthatwhen two sit together and words of the Law (are) between them, the Shekinah (Gods presence) rests betweenthem(p.254).Letslistsomeofthekeyattributesandactivitiesofcorporateworship: a. Spiritual Gifts: While directing the Corinthians in their expression of corporate worship, Paul instructs them in prophesying (1 Cor. 12:10), speaking with tongues (1 Cor. 14:39), and the interpretationoftongues(1Cor.14:27). b. Preaching and Instruction: Acts 2:42 tells us that the early church devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. The sermon in the contextofaserviceofworshipmaybebothkrugmaanddidach;it may effectively appeal for conversion and commitment while instructingChristiansintheteachingsofScriptureandtheprinciples ofspiritualgrowth(Bodey,1993,p.298). Canyouthinkof c. Music: Music can play an important role in corporate gatherings. anyotheractivities Twice(Eph.5:18;Col.3:16)Paulexhortshisreaderstomakemelody thatmightbe withpsalms,hymnsandspiritualsongs. includedin d. Prayer:Prayerisbothanindividualpractice(Matt.6:58)andapart corporateworship? ofthecorporaterite(Acts1:14;4:24). e. The Lords Supper: Gathering together as the Church enables us to celebrate and remember Christs sacrifice for us on the cross. Paul discussesthepracticeoftheimperialbanquetin1Cor.11:2034. f. Active and Visible: Corporate worship is an opportunity for us to openlyexpressourveneration.Physicalexpressionsmightincludekneeling(Eph.3:14),liftingof hands(1Tim.2:8)andeveneatinganddancing(Heb.12:22).
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2. Designing todays Corporate Worship gatherings


Therearemanyconsiderationswhenconstructingthecorporateworshipgatheringsofthe21stcentury. Certainly,weneedtoremaintruetoGodsword,butbeforewecanconstructadefinitionofChristian worship we must first account for a number of other factors which might influence our final characterizationofcorporateworship.JohnSweetman(2012)providesuswithsomeexcellentpointsto considerwhendeterminingthecontentandstyleofmoderncorporateworship:
1) The needs of the people in our culture: Our church services need to be accessible to believers and unbelieversalike,usingcontemporarylanguage,modernmusicandengagingliturgy. 2) The needs of people in our church: We have to be careful of striking the right balance between being accessible to outsiders and maintaining the agerich traditions that rightly distinguish our corporate gatheringsfromotherfaithsandcommunitygroups. 3) Thepurposesofourchurch:Worshipwilloftenbedesignedaroundthecentralvisionandcorebeliefs of the local church. For example a church seeking to minister to the homeless might centre their gatheringontheconsumptionofaheartymeal. 4) Whatappearstobeeffectiveinotherchurches:Somechurchesmightobservewhatotherchurchesare doing in and around their locale with the intention of designing a service that does not conflict with whatalreadyexists.Alternatively,somechurcheswillintentionallytakeontheattributesofsuccessful models.OneexampleistheseekersensitivemodeldevelopedbyWillowCreekduringthe80sand90s. 5) Personalpreferencesoftheworshipleader:Itisdifficulttoescapetheimpactofdifferentpersonalities ontheworshipservice.Forgoodorilleachworshipleadercomestothetaskwithdifferentapproaches andemphases. 6) Preferences of the Senior Pastor: In many churches the office of Senior Pastor is held in the highest regardasthefinalauthorityonspiritualissues(underGod). 7) Tradition: Tradition is not a dirty word. The Christian sacraments of Baptism and Communion are both traditions which are seen as foundational to Christian worship. Other traditions might be driven bydenominationalunderstandingoftheology. 8) The leading of the Holy Spirit: Some churches actively try to be directed by the Holy Spirits leading during the corporate gathering. This sensitivity may be expressed by allowing a rough service structuretobeinterruptedbythespontaneousinclusionorexclusion ofliturgicalcomponents.
Traditionisnotadirtyword

Inyouropinion,whichofthedesigncomponentslistedabovearenonnegotiable?How
this list above, which is the strongest influence on your churchs corporate gathering?

doyouthinkthecontentofyourcurrentchurchscorporateworshipcameabout?From

Whichhastheleastinfluence?
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3. Defining Worship
Asimportantasthepreviouslistofconsiderationsis,itisofthehighestimportancethatweconsider whatGodwants.Atfirstglancethisseemslikeasimplepointtomake;butestablishingexactlywhatour worshipshouldlook,sound,smellandactlikeinresponsetowhatGodwantshasoccupiedmankind imaginationformanymillennia. The passage of Amos 4:45 provides us with a clear warning about conducting worship that has been solely designed around our own preferences and desires. It matters not how many attend or how glitchfreeourperformanceisif,whenwearedone,theAlmightysays,ashedidinthedaysofAmos, CometoBethel(orchurch),andtransgress;toGilgal(orchurch),andmultiplytransgressionforso youlovetodo,OpeopleofIsrael!(Hayford,Killinger,&Stevenson,1990,p.19). Soitiswiththeprophetswarningstillsoundingthatweturnourattention to the defining of worship; joining the many that have attempted such a quest before us. Before reviewing a number of excellent definitions and attemptingthetaskofpenningourownstatement,letsfirstconsidersome of the challenges that might confront the task. Again Sweetman (2012) is helpfulherewhenhesuggestsfivecomplications:
1) Worshipisacontroversialsubject 2) Thewordworshipissimilartothewordlove;sodefiningitcanbedifficult 3) TherearemultiplestylesofworshipintheBible 4) TheEnglishlanguageonlyhasoneword(worship)tocovermanyHebrew andGreekwords 5) Asystematictheologicalapproachmayproducedifferentanswersfroma biblicaltheologymethod

Canyouaddto DrSweetman's listof 'complications'?

WhatdoestheBibleIndicate?
Inordertocriticallyreflectonexistingdefinitionswemustconsideranumberofbroadindicationsthat canbedrawnfromscripture.
1) WorshipisCovenantal:CentraltobiblicalworshipisthecovenantoragreementbetweenGodandthe people of God. The covenant regulates worship and provides much of its structure, rationale, and vocabulary(Webber,1993,p.56).(Exod.32:114;Heb.10:110) 2) WorshipisSymbolic:Allworshipissymbolic,eventhoseintuitiveencounterswiththeholythatseemto bypasstherationalprocess,directlyimpactingtheworshipersconsciousness.Symbolismmustenterin oncetheworshiperbeginstothinkaboutsuchanexperienceortoshareitwithothers,forlanguageand thoughtaresymbolicprocesses(Webber,1993,p.38).(1Cor.10:1617;11.26).
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ChristianWorshipPC315/515 Therearearangeofsymbolsthroughoutscripture: a) ActsandGestures:LiftingHands(1Tim2:8),Bowing andKneeling(Acts20:36),ClappingHands(Ps47:1), Drama (Jer. 19:111), Rituals (Luke 2:2224), Processions(Rev.14:14),Dance(Ps30:1112). b) SymbolicStructures:TheAlter(Exod.20:2426),The Tabernacle (Exod. 26:130), The Temple as sacred space(Gen28:1118). c) SymbolicObjects:ArkoftheCovenant(1Sam.4:3), Books and Scrolls (Rev. 3:5), Anointing Oil (2 Cor. 1:2122), The Lamp (Matt 5:1416), Incense (Mal. 1:11),Blood(Gen9:4),BreadandCup(John6),The Cross(1Cor.1:1723).
AltarofIncense(Freeman& 3) Worship is Sacrificial: From the dawn of history until the Chadwick,1998,p.136) destruction of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 70, human beings erectedaltarsandofferedsacrificetotheLordinactsofworship. SinceonlydescendantsofAaronwereallowedtoofficiateatJewishsacrifices,andgenealogicalrecords weredestroyedinthesiegeofJerusalem,evenJudaismabandonedthesacrificialsystematthattime. Christians, of course, understood the death of Christ as the supreme sacrifice, rendering all others obsolete(Webber,1993,p.66)

Consider the following concluding points offered by Utley (2001, p. 38) as further direction when considering/reflectingonworshipandapossibleoverarchingdefinition:
1) WorshipofGodisnotsomethinghumansinventedorinstituted.Worshipisafeltneed. 2) WorshipisaresponsetowhoGodisandwhatHehasdoneforusinChrist. 3) Worshipinvolvesthewholeperson.Itisbothformandattitude.Itisbothpublicandprivate.Itisboth scheduledandextemporaneous. 4) Trueworshipisanoutgrowthofapersonalrelationship. 5) ThemosthelpfulNTtheologicalpassageonworshipisprobablyJohn4:1926.

DoyouagreewithUtleysconcludingpoints?Whichofthefivepointsmostresonates with you? Which point least resonates with you? Besides John 4:1926, what other passageshaveinfluencedyourtheologicaloutlookonworship?

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VariousDefinitions
RecentdecadeshaveseenarenewedinterestinChristianworship.Withtheincreaseinattention,the subject has received a great deal of study, debate and writings. Scholarly and culturallybiased text abound. Many of the books that focus on the subject of worship commence their considerations and reviewsof worshipwithaguiding definitionofworship(muchlikewearecommencingthiscourseof study).Itissimplynotpossibletolistallthedefinitionsthathavebeenpenned,butthefollowingfive characterizationsshouldgiveusagoodoverviewofthemultiplicity:
Innerhealthmadeaudible.C.S.Lewis(1958) Worship is the expression of a relationship in which God the FatherrevealshimselfandhisloveinChrist,andbyhisHolySpirit administers grace, to which we respond in faith, gratitude, and obedience.RobertSchaper(1984) Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God,ascribingallhonourandworthtotheirCreatorGodprecisely becauseheisworthy,delightfullyso.ThissideoftheFall,human worshipofGodproperlyrespondstotheredemptiveprovisionsthatGodhasgraciouslymade.Whileall true worship is Godcentred, Christian worship is no less Christcentredworship therefore manifests itselfbothinadorationandinaction,bothintheindividualbelieverandincorporateworship,whichis offered up in the context of the body of believers, who strive to align all the forms of their devout ascriptionof allworth to Godwith thepanoplyof new covenantmandatesandexamples that bringto fulfilmentthegloriesofantecedentrevelationandanticipatetheconsummation.D.A.Carson(2002) TrueworshipisthecelebrationofbeingincovenantfellowshipwiththesovereignandholytriuneGod, by means of the reverent adoration and spontaneous praise of Gods nature and works, the expressed commitmentoftrustandobediencetothecovenantresponsibilities,andthememorialreenactmentof enteringintothecovenantthroughritualacts,allwiththeconfidentanticipationofthefulfillmentofthe covenantpromisesinglory.AllenP.Ross(2006) Worshipisourintentional,contextual,Spiritempoweredresponse(involvingbothhonourandservice) toGodsrevelationcenteredinJesus.JohnSweetman(2012)

Developingaworkingdefinition
Aswecanseefromthedefinitionsabovethereisnosingulardefinitionthatcanaccountforthebreadth ofChristianworship.BryanChappell(2009)inhisbookChristcenteredWorshipremindsusthat
The Bible mercifully denies us the worship detail we may desire, keeping our worship focused on heavenly themes rather than earthly proprieties.Instead, the lack of explicit detail must reflect an intentiontoguideusbytranscendentprinciplesratherthanbyspecificworshipformsthatcouldbecome culturebound,timelocked,andsuperstitioninvoking.(pp.107,108)

WewillsoonturnourownpenstothetaskofdevelopingaworkingdefinitionforChristianworship.As wepreparetodoso,itisimportanttosummarisesomeofthekeyattributesthatshouldbecontained withinourattemptedworkingdefinition.Thefollowinglistisbynomeansexhaustive,butdoesprovide uswithastartingpoint:

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ChristianWorshipPC315/515 1. Worship is a celebration: The word celebration captures the ritual festivity often observed in Biblical worship. 2. Worshipisservice:Weworshipasanactofservice.AllworshipisservicetoGod,eventhoughnotall serviceisworshipinthepropersenseThePsalmsarefilledwithcommandsfortherighteoustoenterhis courtswithsinging,ortogivepraisetohim,ortobringthethankofferingstohisalter.Butworshipisalso serviceinthatitwillinspirespiritualgrowthandprovideencouragementforfaithfulness.(Ross,2006,p. 68) 3. Worshipisintentional:Whilstworshipisservice,itisnotdoneoutofapuresenseofduty.Ourcorporate gatheringsarebornoutofourintentionaldesiretomeettogetherandcelebratetheKingofKings.Often thebestworshipserviceshavereceivedintentionalthought,prayeranddesign. 4. Worshipiseschatological:Christianworship,whilecelebratingallthatGodhasdonethroughtheages,is focused on all that He is about to do in the culmination of time. In so doing, our corporate gatherings conjoinwiththeheavenlyhostastheyworshiparoundthethronecontinually. 5. Worship is led by the Spirit of God: Without the Holy Spirits guidance our revelation of Christ and our abilitytoworshipinspiritandtruthwillflounderinourownunderstanding(Prov.3:5). 6. Worship is Gospel Centred: The principal revelation that governs and directsourworshipisChrist.Jesusisunderstoodtobethefulfilmentofthe OldTestamentworshiprituals: a. Ultimatesacrificeforsin(Heb.10:18,Eph.5:2) b. Ultimatepriest(1Tim.2:5,Heb.6:138:13) c. JesusisGodstabernacleandtemple(John2:1922,Rev.21:22) d. JesusisthePassoverLamb(1Cor.5:7) 7. Worship is contextual: Biblical worship and the design thereof was always driven by the context of its surroundings.Forexample,MosesTabernaclewasdesignedasatemporaryandportablebuildingdueto thetransitorywanderingsoftheHebrewpeopleatthetime,whereasDavids(Solomons)Templewasa fixed structure designed to attest to the settled nation of Israel. It is often the contextual nature and designofworshipthatdrawsthemostdebateintheworshipwars.

Accounting for the content covered during this lecture, work in small groups of 34 peopleinordertodevelopyourownworkingdefinitionforChristianworship.

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References
Bodey,R.A.(1993).Sermon:Homily.InR.Webber(Ed.),TheBiblicalFoundationsofChristianWorship (Vol.1).Nashville,TN:StarSongPublishingGroup. Carson,D.A.(Ed.).(2002).Worshipbythebook.GrandRapids,MI:Zondervan. Chapell, B. (2009). Christcentered worship: Letting the gospel shape our practice. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic. Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners and customs of the Bible. North Brunswick, NJ: BridgeLogosPublishers. Hayford,J.W.,Killinger,J.,&Stevenson,H.(1990).Materingworship.Portland,OR:MultnomahPress. Lewis,C.S.(1958).Reflectionsonthepslams.SanDiego,NY:HarcourtBrace. Peterson,D.(1992).EngagingwithGod:Abiblicaltheologyofworship.DownersGrove,IL:InterVarsity Press. Ross, A. P. (2006). Recalling the hope of glory: Biblical worship from the garden to the new creation. GrandRapids,MI:KregelPublications. Schaper,R.(1984).Inhispresence:Appreciatingyourworshiptradition.Nashville,TN:ThomasNelson. Sweetman, J. (2012). Defining corporate worship: Module 1. Unpublished Learning Guide. Malyon College. Utley,R.J.(2001).Howitallbegan:Genesis111(Vol.1A).Marshall,TX:BibleLessonsInternational. Webber, R. (1993). The biblical foundations of Christian worship. Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group.

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