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     We offer the following book free to church leaders in Franklin
     County, Pennsylvania (one book per church).

     "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers
     shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the
     Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit; and those who
     worship Him must worship in spirit and truth"
                                                            (John 4: 23-24, NASV). 


     With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed
  D.G. Hart and John R. Muether.  Phillipsburg, New
     Jersey:  P&R Publishing, 2002.

Are you perplexed or confused about the growing movement of contemporary worship styles which seems to be swallowing up church after church?  Are you doubtful about the casual, informal and "whatever" attitude that seems to increasingly characterize worship in churches?  Are you concerned about the weakness and superficiality of the Biblical message in many churches?  Are you concerned about the shallowness of much modern worship music?  Are you concerned about the replacement of Biblical exposition with drama, dance, skits and felt-needs messages by upbeat speakers?

This is an excellent book to help us think about the kind of worship the Bible calls acceptable to God.  What is Reformed worship?  The authors believe this is the best expression of what the Bible teaches about worship.  The word "reformed" refers to the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s when the biblical gospel was reclaimed from neglect and the dust-bin of man-made and man-centered teachings.  The Protestant Reformers returned to the Bible to find out what God wanted. 

In the Bible the Protestant Reformers found that the Bible alone was the authority upon which all church teaching and practice was to be based.  They found that sinners could be accepted by God only on the basis of Christ's obedience and sacrifice upon the cross.  They discovered that salvation was by grace alone through faith alone and no human works or merit contributed to salvation. 

In the Bible they found how to worship God.  They rejected the traditions of men that obscured the simplicity of Biblical worship. 

Here is how the authors of this book summarize the characteristics of Biblical worship: 


    "Reformed worship is founded on the Word of God."  The Bible alone directs our worship. 
    The Bible is also the content of worship as it is read sung and preached.

    "Reformed worship is theocentric."  Worship is to be God-centered because it seeks the
    glory of God.  Adoration of God springs from an appreciation of His majesty.  We approach
    God only through Jesus Christ with reverence, awe and joy.  God hates false worship. 
    There is no place for irreverence or casualness. 

    "Reformed worship nurtures God's people through the means of grace."  God purposes
    that worship is the means by which His people grow in their faith.  Worship is central to
    this growth in grace through the means of the Word of God and the sacraments (Baptism
    and the Lord's Supper). 

    "Reformed worship is dialogical."  Worship is a meeting between God and His people. 
    God speaks through His Word and His people respond to Him in song, prayer and
    confession.  It is a service between God and His people; it is not a form of entertainment
    or a conversation among believers.

    "Reformed worship is simple."  The Bible is central in all parts of the worship.  The order
    of worship is regular and not a spectacle or theater.  The simplicity of worship is also
    observed in its weekly pattern.  Worship is designed for the Lord's Day; one day in seven
    set aside for holy service to God.  

    "Reformed worship is eschatological."  We are united with Christ in worship.  We worship
    in spirit and therefore, do not need material supports.  Ornate sanctuaries are inappropriate
    for worship.  Our direction is heavenward where Christ is.  Worship is a foretaste of being
    with Him forever.  

                                                                                               Pages 184-186


What kind of worship style is acceptable?  Here is how the authors sum up their argument for Biblical worship: 

    "Frequently, variety in worship is described as the difference in style, whether contemporary
    or traditional, seeker-sensitive or liturgical.  These styles do not affect content, supposedly,
    but are interchangeable according to the needs and preferences of the congregation.  But
    from a biblical perspective this is the wrong way to think about worship style.  In Scripture
    there are ultimately only two styles of worship: true and false
" (p. 186). 

The test for any worship style is whether it is pleasing to God. Does it bring glory to God and is it worship that He has commanded?  Is it worship that is governed by the Word of the Lord alone?

    "True worship is worship where Christ is truly acknowledge as Lord and where it conforms
    to what Christ has taught in his Word by himself and his apostles.  We can distinguish true
    worship from false worship by what God has revealed through his Holy Spirit
" (pp. 186-187). 

The motto of the Protestant Reformation was "always reforming."  That is the our goal for Grace Baptist Church.  We hope it is the goal for your church.  This book will help you reach that goal. 

May God be praised.