The form of our worship, should it matter?

I found the following comments on Leviticus 6-7 helpful:

Jesus said that God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. And it has become commonplace to contrast spirit and form as if they were incompatible in worship. “The letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life” is a text that out of context (2 Cor 3:6) can be used to justify slapdash leading of services and other Christian activities. Spontaneity and lack of preparation is equated with spirituality. Lev. 6-7 denies this: care and attention to detail are indispensable to the conduct of divine worship. God is more important, more distinguished, worthy of more respect than any man; therefore we should follow his injunctions to the letter, if we respect him.

A glance at the performing arts dispels the illusion that a great and spirited performance can be achieved without practice and attention to detail. Indeed great actors and musicians spend hours studying and rehearsing the works they are to perform, so that they can recapture the spirit of the author and convey it in their performance. Audiences expect performers to aim at perfection in the concert hall. Worship is also a performance, a performance in honor of almighty God. As no orchestra can give of its best without a competent conductor and meticulous rehearsal, so no congregation is likely to worship our holy God in a worthy manner without careful direction by a well-instructed minister.

Gordon J. Wenham, Commentary on Leviticus.

The need above all other needs (…) is the power of the Holy Spirit

I think there can be no doubt that the need above all other needs in the Church of God at this moment is the power of the Holy Spirit. (…)
We may be sure of one thing, that for our deep trouble there is no cure apart from a visitation, yes, an invasion of power from above. Only the Spirit Himself can show us what is wrong with us and only the Spirit can prescribe the cure. Only the Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of Spiritless Christianity. Only the Spirit can show us the Father and the Son. Only the inworking of the Spirit’s power can discover can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the triune God. (Tozer)

Thomas Watson on the Horsegate scandal

See the difference between God and a great part of the world. (…) Men are unjust in their dealings. This is, [I] In using false weights. ‘The balances of deceit are in his hand.’ Hos 12: 7. It is sad to have the Bible in one hand, and false weights in the other. Or, [2] In adulterating commodities. ‘Thy wine is mixed with water,’ Isa 1: 22: when bad grain is mixed with good, and sold for pure grain. I can never believe he is good in the first table who is not good in the second. He cannot be godly who is not just. Though God does not bid you be as omnipotent as he is, yet he bids you be as just.

Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity

John Newton on Church Hopping or Shopping « The Reformed Reader

There’s a lot of church hoppers around. unfortunately, there has always been and there will always be some people who never settle down anywhere. We’ve had a few over the last 2 years. Here is what John Newton (author of Amazing grace) had to say about this: John Newton on Church Hopping or Shopping « The Reformed Reader.

Christ centred ministry

“The care of pastors for their flock will be proportional to their care for the Lord. By the Lake of Galilee Jesus had examined Peter about his love for him. Only as he confessed his love for Christ was Peter charged to shepherd the flock of Christ. Love for Christ will kindle compassion for Christ’s scattered sheep, the little ones for whom he died. Lucas Cranach’s altarpiece painting in Wittenberg shows on the right side Luther preaching, and on the left side the people listening. In the middle Cranach has represented Christ on the cross. The painting was evidently intended to show that worship centres on the preaching of Christ crucified. The people see not the preacher, but Christ. No doubt we should read that picture from the other side as well. The preacher must present Christ; more than that, to know his people, he must know Christ, He must serve the flock in the light of the cross. Their calue to the Lord is the price of his blood.”

Edmund Clowney, The message of 1 Peter, IVP, BST series

How is Judges relevant to us?

The following quote are the closing paragraphs of Daniel I. Block’s commentary on Judges (New American Commentary, B&H publishing). I use it for a series of Bible studies, alongside Ralph Davis’ commentary. Daniel I Block’s commentary is  brilliant, full of contemporary applications and theological insight. It is written in an American context, but I think it applies to both British and French context.

Human heroes in the Book of Judges are few and far between. Continue reading “How is Judges relevant to us?”