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“Biblical, Historical, and Theological Case for Reformed Worship” – Terry Johns

April 15, 2009
(I will update throughout the talk)
“Biblical, Historical, and Theological Case for Reformed Worship”
Terry Johnson
Dr. Johnson is the Senior Minister of Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah Georgia. He has been there since 1987. His call to the ministry led him to Trinity College in Bristol, England, time at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Coral Gables Florida and then on to Savannah Georgia. He is the compiler/author of the Trinity Psalter and Leading in Worship, and author or several noted writings which can be found on the church’s website.

Books recommend by Carl Robbins of Dr. Johnsons:
The Pastor’s Ministry
The Parables of Jesus

Seminary #4 – “Biblical, Historical, and Theological Case for Reformed Worship” – Terry Johnson

“Biblical, Historical, and Theological Case for Reformed Worship”
Terry Johnson

Personal taste does not apply to consideration of Reformed Worship. Churches have adopted the outlook of we’ll tailor our service to what we like. Reformed Theology cannot be grafted into how you want to tailor your service of worship. Historical Reformed Worship never considered what man wanted. Hughes Oliphant Old is said to be the grandfather of Reformed Worship and his writings should be sought when desiring to learn or read on Reformed Worship.

The men of the day were considered Renaissance Humanists, going to the sources (sources of Christian church) and built a case for Biblical, historical and theological case for Reformed Worship. They could say that Acts 2:42 was the basis for this.

The Exegetical and Theological Case
1. Election Continuo reading and preaching of the Scripture (1 Timothy 3:14). The author of 1 Timothy notes in this passage “the reading”. There was a time given to in the worship service to the reading of Scripture. Acts 13:15, Acts 15:21
2. A full diet of prayer. A variety of prayers (confession of sin, intercession, thanksgiving, petitions, etc.)
a. Six Basic Prayers can be
i. Praise
ii. Sin
iii. Confession
iv. Intercession
v. ?
vi. Benediction (it is a prayer)
3. Singing of Psalms and Biblical Hymnody. Biblical hymnody was “refound” by historical reformers. Acts 4. The church fathers were very in favor of Psalm singing and could not be held back from wanting to sing them. They are revolutionaries but actually restorationists (who take into account the witness and account of the patristic church).
4. Administration of the Sacraments. The bread is bread and the cup is a cup. Went back to Augustine’s definition and restored the Lord’s Supper.

Biblical Studies
In 16th century Biblical reform was taking place and implications of doctrines was taking a while to “settle in”.

Implications on worship:
1. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) – Scripture must be our authority when we view our understanding of how Worship is be ordered. B/c of this several elements needed to be reformed in the 16th century.
2. Solus Christus (Christ Alone Saves) – if Christ’s atonement was final and complete and does not need supplemented then we do not need a mass when we observe the eucharist, we have a supper, we have a meal, not a sacrifice. The job description changes of the minister, he is not a priest. The furniture is not an altar but a table.
3. Sola Fide (Justified by Faith Alone) – you must trust in Christ. Latin is out, vernacular services are in. The focus is now on the Word of God. The Word needs to be present at Worship Services. We read the Word, We pray the Word, Everything in Worship is based on the WORD. This is Biblical Christianity.
4. Sola Gratia (Saved by the Grace of God Alone) – do we believe we are saved by the grace of God alone? Yes. Then in our congregational worship we will express this. We will pray to God that the HS would illuminate God’s word and our dependence on it.
5.

Protestant Reformers brought about the most radical reform of the church.

Elements of the Order
1. Invocation (CTW) – calling
2. Prayers (chief part of God’s worship lies in the office of prayer – Calvin)
3. Reading
4. Singing of Psalms (it is b/c of Calvin’s perseverance
5. Administration of Sacraments
6. Liturgical use of 10 Commandments

Removed from Order in 16th century
1. Responses

Liturgical Ethos or Tone
1. Ethos is one of reverence (reading, listening, singing were all seen as being done in reverence). Reverance (For Calvin) is the first rule in Worship!
2. Ritual Simplicity (simple service so people of God would give their entirety to the means of grace)
3. A balance of form and freedom.
5 Strengths of Reformed Worship (see points above)
1. God Centered
2. Gospel Structured (the Service itself presents the gospel each Lord’s Day/each Lord’s Day service)
3. It is Word filled (no Bible, no Word then no ministry)
4. Spirit dependent
5. Honors catholicity and the communion of the saints

Reformed Worship is timeless which provides the opportunity to UNITE. Don’t segment your marketing on who your devise your worship around.

An audio preached at Christ Church in 2008 on Reformed Worship can be accessed here, http://tr.im/refwor
Sermons on Worship from IPC Sav on worship, http://tr.im/worshipipc
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