Thursday, July 8, 2010

Worship Resources

Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns by T. David Gordon (review at Reformation Theology) Gee whiz, that guy Johnny is always getting picked on. Yet, this book looks like a great and thought-provoking treatise that shatters most of the assumptions that ppl have about contemporary worship.

Gospel Worship by Jeremiah Burroughs (from Ligonier) This work by one of the most influential puritan preachers looks at the biblical teaching on worship and how we may please the Lord in our services of praise. R.C. Sproul considers it among the books that has been most important in his life and ministry.

A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of Christ-Centered Worship by Michael Horton (at Ligonier)
Michael Horton looks at the controversies over worship in modern evangelicalism and the tendency to make worship more about us than it is about God. Horton explains what it means to have God-centered worship and calls the church to recover this vision of our services of praise.

Worship by the Book by Rev. Mark Ashton, R. Kent Hughes, and Timothy J. Keller  (editor: D. A. Carson  (at Amazon) "What is at stake is authenticity. . . . Sooner or later Christians tire of public meetings that are profoundly inauthentic, regardless of how well (or poorly) arranged, directed, performed. We long to meet, corporately, with the living and majestic God and to offer him the praise that is his due."—D. A. Carson

Worship by R.C. Sproul (at Ligonier) Disputes over worship can be solved only through a return to the Scriptures in order to discover what God has said about how we may rightly praise Him. This teaching series (on CD) is a helpful overview of the biblical teaching on worship, dealing with both its purpose and elements.

Give Praise to God by Various (at Ligonier) Give Praise to God is a collection of several essays on the theology and practice of worship. It is an excellent resource for discovering why the Reformed tradition worships in the way that it does and for helping develop a more thoughtful approach to what we do in worship and what happens when we gather together.

The Family Worship Book by Terry Johnson (at Ligonier) Terry Johnson has designed this resource to help families introduce times of worship into their homes, and he provides guidance as to what family worship is and what it should contain. Suggested Bible readings, creedal readings, hymns, and other tools are included to assist parents in structuring their family devotional times.

Worship Matters by Bob Kaufflin (at Crossway) This book focuses on the essentials of God-honoring worship, combining biblical foundations with practical application in a way that works in the real world. The author--a pastor and noted songwriter--skillfully instructs fellow pastors, musicians, and worship leaders to root corporate worship in unchanging scriptural principles rather than divisive cultural trends.

Pleasing God in Our Worship by Robert Godfrey (at Ligonier) This helpful booklet examines several basic principles for developing worship that is pleasing to God. It is helpful for those trying to navigate the worship wars and see what Scripture actually has to say about worship.

My comments: I was sent to Georgia for Army training while I was a member of a dynamic, contemporary-worship style PCA church in Delaware. While I lived in Georgia, I attended Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, where Terry Johnson (mentioned above) pastors, every Sunday that I was able to. The first time I attended this church, my worship paradigm was disrupted. Here was a dynamic, lively, traditional worship community that spanned the ranges of all ages from the very young to the very old. The sanctuary was packed, and everyone was in full participation with singing the Psalms and Hymns. 

My current home church, on a much, much smaller scale is very much like IPC. Everyone participates. Unlike some contemporary style of worship formats, where four or five extrememly gifted musicians lead with excruciatingly amplified music, singing specific parts that are either too high or too eclectic for the rest of the congregation to sing along with, there are no performers at IPC. Worship there is not meant to entertain anyone. Everyone stands to sing all of the songs, instead of sitting down and watching musicians perform to the applause of the crowd, as if they were to receive votes on a reality show. While I still listen to contemporary music in my car, when cleaning the house, etc.., I have to say that participating in real, reformed worship at church for me was an eye opening experience, which I am very grateful for today.   

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