Monday, January 30, 2012
Malcolm Watts on the effect of Reformed Worship
I’ve been reading Malcolm Watt’s What is a Reformed Church? (Reformation Heritage, 2011). Here’s an excerpt comparing the effect of Reformed worship compared to worship in broad evangelicalism:
In Reformed churches, the divine majesty is an article of faith, and it awakens godly fear in every aspect of public worship. There is orderliness in the services, and worshippers are aware that they are in the presence of Jehovah, the God of ineffable majesty. A biblical concept of God—what He is in Himself and what He is to His people—is fitted to inspire loftiest adoration and noblest praise. It certainly banishes light thoughts, flippant expressions, and worldly performances.
A very different atmosphere pervades the majority of modern churches. Even before the service begins, there is worldly and idle chatter. This breaks out again as soon as the service is over, effectively removing every good impression. Hearts do not appear to be devoted to the work of praise; there is careless inattentativeness to Scripture, and there is little intensity of devotion when it comes to prayer. Indeed, in not a few churches, music and group singing so dominates that the service becomes more like a concert. Tragically, there is the same ethos in some Reformed churches. Entering the building on a Sabbath day, one is confronted with styles and content of worship normally associated with modern, Arminian and charismatic churches. Reformed worship should be distinctive. We confess a sovereign God. Our veneration for Him should be demonstrated in the way we make our approach to Him. It should always be in a serious manner and with reverential fear (pp. 13-14).