Articles on Worship

Singing and Making Melody | Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family – Christian Article

In both Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, Paul commands gathered believers to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, thereby “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Eph 5:19) and “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Col 3:16). Scholars disagree as to the exact meaning of the three terms psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Traditionally, “psalm” referred to OT Jewish psalms, “hymn” was a common term in the culture denoting poetic expression of praise to deity, and…

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An Unlikely Invitation | Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family – Christian Article

Scott Aniol | June 9th, 2019 | The man was a scoundrel, certainly not worthy of the invitation he had just received. He had stolen before—he had even stolen from the king’s treasury. And now he was eyeing the fat purse on the richly-dressed nobleman headed his way on the main road, when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Oh no, he though. Caught at last. “Sir,” a voice behind him said. He turned around. “Sir, the king is…

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Why Hymnals? | Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family – Christian Article

I was recently asked to fill out a survey for pastors about their use of hymnals. Their final question was: “If you DO use hymnals for congregational singing, why do you view them as a worthwhile means of leading your church in worship?” Here was my response: A printed hymnal is good for so many reasons. It is a canon of acceptable worship. It helps congregants know what is good to sing in worship (and, by converse, helps them judge…

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Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family – Christian Article

The requirement for Israel of specific times and rituals for worship, both weekly and annually, established a fundamental principle for God’s people that did not end with Israel. God’s creation of these worship days and festivals was not arbitrary; rather, in establishing these days, God clearly articulated their purpose. For example, when God founded the annual Passover observance, he proclaimed, “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord;…

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The Liturgical Nature of Cultus – Christian Article

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series “Worldview-Forming Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Last week I described the liturgical nature of culture. Yet there is a second element within the broader concept of liturgy, actually the more common use of the term, and the one that centers on the primary focus of this book—worship. While the Greek term leitourgia was originally used to describe all sorts of social works,…

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Worship at Sinai | Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family – Christian Article

Fifty days after the exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel arrived at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where God specifically set apart the worshiping community and gave instructions for how he desired to be worshiped, serving as the formative era of Israelite worship and history. This encounter is on God’s initiative. The people don’t come on their own in order to attempt to get their God’s attention. Rather, “The Lord called out to [Moses] out of the mountain” (Exod…

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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi | Religious Affections Ministries: Conservative Christianity, Worship, Culture, Aesthetics, Classical Education, Homeschooling, Family – Christian Article

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series “Worldview-Forming Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. What we have seen over the past several weeks is a dynamic interplay between four realities: worldview, theology, culture, and cultus. Worldview and theology affect one another and constitute religion; culture and cultus affect one another as liturgy. But this kind of mutual formation occurs at a macro level as well, between religion and liturgy,…

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What is the Nature of Religion? Worldview – Christian Article

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series “Worldview-Forming Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Religion is composed of two parts, the first of which is worldview. A worldview consists of a set of assumptions a person holds about reality; it is a lens through which he understands and interprets everything around him. James Sire has provided a helpful and influential definition of worldview: A worldview is a commitment, a…

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What is the Nature of Religion? Theology – Christian Article

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series “Worldview-Forming Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Broadly speaking, theology is how we intentionally answer the questions James Sire provided (see last week’s post) that form the assumptions at the core of our worldview. What we believe about the nature of reality, the purpose and meaning of life, the basis of right and wrong, and most importantly God form our theology. Theology…

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Religion = Worldview + Theology – Christian Article

This entry is part of 4 in the series “Worldview-Forming Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Everyone has an implicit worldview—a fundamental orientation of the heart expressed in assumptions about reality, and most people have an explicit theology—conscious beliefs expressed in stated propositions. The combination of worldview and theology is what constitutes a religion. Expressed in this way, all people have a religion, whether they acknowledge it or not. Even atheists have…

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Why We Let the Little Ones Come to the Service – Christian Article

I remember the Sunday driving home from church when Becky said, “Wow, I think I was able to listen to the whole sermon today.” Our kids had finally reached the age where they were able to sit still in our church’s service without needing attention. Now we’ve “started over” with two more children. There is no doubt that welcoming children into the service is difficult for parents, but I am convinced it is the best thing for the children, the…

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Pentecostalism’s View of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship – Christian Article

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series “The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Last week, I noted that the most common expectation today of the Holy Spirit’s work in worship is that he will make God’s presence known in a tangible way, and I promised to discuss where this expectation arose. This expectation is certainly not new; theologians such as John Owen and Jonathan…

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Holy Spirit, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere – Christian Article

Scott Aniol | January 9th, 2019 | This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series “The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Arguably, the default expectation of contemporary evangelical worshipers is that the Holy Spirit works in worship in such a way so as to create an extraordinary experience, well expressed in the popular worship song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt: Holy spirit, You are welcome…

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The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship: Extraordinary Experience or Disciplined Formation? – Christian Article

Scott Aniol | January 3rd, 2019 | This entry is part of 1 in the series “The Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship” Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. “Our church’s worship is pretty formal, but I prefer Holy Spirit-led worship.” Such was a comment I overheard recently by a young evangelical describing his church’s worship service, illustrating a very common perception by many evangelicals today—if the Holy Spirit actively works in worship, the…

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