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Worship in Spirit and Truth – tekijä:…

Worship in Spirit and Truth (vuoden 1996 painos)

– tekijä: John M. Frame (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
527435,317 (3.42)-
Includes bibliographical references (p. 155-160) and index.
Teoksen nimi:Worship in Spirit and Truth
Kirjailijat:John M. Frame (Tekijä)
Info:P & R Publishing (1996), 192 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

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Worship in Spirit and Truth (tekijä: John M. Frame)


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näyttää 4/4
John Frame’s book is an excellent contribution to the discussion of worship and should be read by anyone who seriously wants to engage with the issues. Not every aspect of the practical application will be palatable to each reader, but it will surely give one pause for thought. Frame has done much to “bring us back to the heart of worship” in this relatively short book. May it garner a wide reading.
  Corrientes | Feb 18, 2010 |
This is my Discerning Reader reviews: http://discerningreader.com/book-reviews/worship-in-spirit-and-truth

Sadly, worship is a contentious issue in the church and has been for a long time. On the one hand this is understandable because worship is an important subject and should be taken seriously. Worship is the ascription of worth to the Triune God and what could be more significant than that? Yet, on the other hand, the issues often debated have more to do with preference and style than about serious theological reflection on the nature and practice of worship. Many books have been written on this subject, and frankly many of them should remain on the shelf to collect dust. Thankfully, there are those thoughtful writers who have contributed to the discussion in a fruitful way. John M. Frame is one of those writers and his book, Worship in Spirit and Truth: A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practices of Biblical Worship, is just such a contribution.

John Frame is a recognised theologian who is professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He has written on a variety of topics in his field in particular on the doctrine of God, apologetics, ethics and one other volume on worship. As well, he is a classically trained musician and has experience serving as lead worshipper in various churches. Frame is more than qualified to write a book such as this.

As a theologian in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition, Frame takes seriously his commitment to the Westminster Standards and the regulative principle of worship. This is made clear at the beginning when he says, “In my view, the Westminster Confession is entirely right in its regulative principle—that true worship is limited to what God commands” (xiii). Yet, at the same time, Frame takes issue with the way the Puritan tradition as understood the regulative principle of worship. He claims that their methods need “overhaul.” Historians may want to debate with Frame on the generalisations of Puritan method, but his point is well taken. The church cannot rely solely on Puritan formulations of worship and believe that such a view is subscribing to the regulative principle. The regulative principle of worship essentially states that what is done in worship is to be determined by the scriptures. While the past is indispensable to contemporary theological development, and the church would be on a collision course with disaster if it failed to take seriously its heritage, history is not the foundation of truth. The bible is. Therefore, the bulk of Frame’s book is taken up with assessing worship practices in light of scriptural teaching. As he says, “This book is about biblical principles” (xv). For this he should be commended.

The mark of a good book on theology is its practicality. This book is both good theology and highly practical. The first four chapters deal with theological issues in worship. Chapter one outlines basic principles such as defining worship as God-centred and trinitarian. This latter point is so often missed today; that worship is a deeply trinitarian act. How many evangelical churches in our day formally ascribe worship to a unitarian god? While not intentionally setting out to do this, it invariably happens because of the dearth of solid trinitarian teaching in the church. As Frame rightly says, “Our worship should be clearly directed to God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (7).

Chapters two and three focus specifically on the Old and New Testaments respectively. To have a proper understanding of biblical worship, one must appreciate it from a biblical-theological framework. Understanding the right relationship of worship in the Old and New Testaments is tantamount to a proper theology of worship. In chapter two Frame discusses the nature of Old Testament worship as meeting with God, citing Moses as a prime example. Worship is also covenantal, a concept expressed in holiness and separateness. This is seen in Israel, whose “very existence was worship” (17). The rest of the chapter is taken up with specific patterns of worship distinct to the Israelite cultus such as Sabbaths, feasts, tabernacle and temple, priesthood and the later development of synagogues.

Chapter three turns to the New Testament and Christ who fulfills old covenant worship. In the new covenant worship retains its covenantal status, but now focuses on Jesus as the covenant Lord who “displays the control, authority, and presence that Yahweh associated with his own lordship over Israel” (25). Frame shows the redemptive-historical significance of old covenant worship that pointed forward to Jesus. It is now in him that people meet with God. This has far-reaching theological significance for worship. Frame sees it as a broadening that leads to greater liberty. “Every ordinance of the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ” and in new covenant practice “there are great differences” (29). No longer is there a priesthood because Jesus is the great High Priest. The temple is no more because Jesus is the true temple. Instead, there is great simplicity to worship in the new covenant era. Now there are only two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. And what is more, the Holy Spirit is permanently involved in the worship of the church.

Chapter four discusses the question of rules for worship. Not all is permissible and Frame pointedly explains “God is not always pleased when people worship him” (37). This is sometimes surprising for people to hear, but if “worship” violates God’s principles set forth in scripture, then it could not possibly please him. Examples are drawn from the Old Testament in Cain, Nadab and Abihu who all worshipped in an unauthorized way. Very clearly “the wrong kind of worship provokes God’s wrath” (38). Therefore a regulative principle, based on scripture, is necessary for offering God worship that he finds pleasing.

The section on the regulative principle is probably the most controversial aspect of Frame’s book and he has taken a lot of heat because of it. But this reviewer finds in Frame one who grasps the essence of the Reformed principle of sola scriptura. He puts it well saying, “We must ask the Scriptures what God wants us to do in worship” (39). Yet at the same time Christians must remember that there is room for human thought in determining what pleasing worship is, just so long as that thought is congruous with God’s Word. “Human wisdom may never presume to add to its commands. The only job of human wisdom is to apply those commands to specific situations” (43, emphasis his).

Chapters five through thirteen then focus on practical issues regarding worship, such as the elements of worship, leadership, occasions for worship, order of events, the role of emotions, word and sacrament, baptism, prayer and music. In fact, the often-cantankerous question of music is taken up in three chapters (10-12). These are important chapters because so often this is where those engaged in the “worship wars” spend their time fighting. In many cases the issue comes down to one of taste, not of theological concern. Frame offers good advice on how to evaluate music both theologically and aesthetically.

The final chapter, thirteen, seeks to put together all that has been discussed by offering a sample of a service from Frame’s home church so that readers get a feel for how to implement what has been learned in the book. This section is a catalyst for pastors and lead worshippers who want ideas for constructing a worship service.

A detailed summary and analysis of each chapter goes beyond the scope of this review, but certain of Frame’s points are worth noting. The following topics are chosen based solely on the personal interest of the reviewer, not necessarily because of any over-arching significance in the overall debate on worship.

Frequently one hears from those defending “traditional” against “contemporary” worship that emotions must be guarded. Frame deals with the role of emotions in chapter 7, called “The Tone of Worship.” He observes “there is little in (Reformed) literature on the positive value of emotions in worship or the emotional content of the word of God” (77). To balance out the idea that truth only comes to a person through the intellect, a view that finds more affinity with Sandemanianism that it does Jonathan Edwards, Frame explains the relationship of emotions to the mind. This was the most helpful chapter of the book for this reviewer. In particular Frame’s explanation that the whole person is involved in worship, not just the mind – important though the mind is – helps us understand that the concept of heart worship goes beyond the distinction between mind and affections. The intellect, will and emotions are “interdependent” on one another. “The emotions provide the intellect with data for analysis and judgment; the intellect provides the emotions with direction and perspective” (78). Those who have been taught that the emotions place a distant second when it comes to worship should note this appropriation.

Frame is surely correct when he says that in the scriptures “God appeals to us in a wide variety of ways, some relatively intellectual…some relatively emotional” (78). He then gives examples of emotional appeal in Romans 8:31-39 and 11:33-36 and intellectual logic in Psalm 1. Scripture speaks to all of life therefore it addresses our feelings. Frame provides a list of various emotions that a worshipper should feel, such as reverence, joy, sorrow for sin, participation, faith, love, boldness and family intimacy.

Another point worth noting is the stress that Frame puts on the need for intelligibility. Worship that is unintelligible to people today ultimately becomes irrelevant. Not understanding the words or not being able to sing the tunes makes worship a chore rather than a delight. If Christians are to communicate the gospel to their culture, and if worship is to be gospel-oriented, then it needs to be clear and understandable. It should also be a delight to partake in, not a boring exercise.

One criticism that should be offered regards the point Frame makes about “heavy metal” and other such forms of music “that are so deeply associated with the most degenerate elements of our society” (141). This seems incongruous with what Frame has actually argued in the book. Who says that heavy metal is associated with degenerate elements of society any more than the music of Nietzche’s friend Wagner? Some very powerful expressions of worship can been found in metal bands like Overcome or xdisciplex AD. While not wanting to argue that heavy metal or rap should be used in Lord’s Day worship, such a sweeping statement is in need of revision or removal.

Aside from this one critique, John Frame’s book is an excellent contribution to the discussion of worship and should be read by anyone who seriously wants to engage with the issues. Not every aspect of the practical application will be palatable to each reader, but it will surely give one pause for thought. Frame has done much to “bring us back to the heart of worship” in this relatively short book. May it garner a wide reading.
  ianclary | May 6, 2009 |
This is an excellent book on worship by a brilliant man. Frame is faithful to Scripture while remaining culturally balanced and insightful.

Frame begins, as most books on worship do, by defining what worship is, and expounding some typical Biblical passages from both the Old Testament and the New. He then moves on to the Regulative Principle which governs the rest of the book.

It is his position on the Regulative Principle that makes this book well worth the read. Frame goes against many in modern-day Reformed circles by saying, "the regulative principle is a charter of freedom, not a burdensome bondage. [It] sets us free from human traditions, to worship God his way" (p. 45). The R.P. gives us great freedom to apply the "rules or worship" to different and diverse cultural & sub-cultural contexts.

Indeed, this is a very well thought out book. It is definitely the best I've read on the regulative principle. It is not at all legalistic and many books on the subject tend to be; but it is, instead, freeing! ( )
  solagratia28 | Apr 21, 2008 |
There were definitely some things that I disagreed with in this book especially when it came to the use of things like drama in the worship service. The book has some very helpful things to say in spite of this, however. ( )
  nate77 | Oct 4, 2007 |
näyttää 4/4
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