Hear also some recent RADIO Interviews on the Series:
THE STATE of the EVANGELICAL CHURCH IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST (1)
THE STATE of the EVANGELICAL CHURCH IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST (2)
Protestants believe worship is to be a dialogical. Our response flows from what he has declared through his servant in the written Word. We are called to separate these as two distinct aspects of worship. Notice the dialogical principle demonstrated below in a standard Protestant liturgy (what we do in worship):
Call to Worship (Scripture text)
God's Greeting (Scripture text)
Song of Praise
God's Will For Us in His Law (Scripture text)
Confession of Sin
(prayer / song)
Assurance of Pardon
Response of Gratitude:
Prayer (first part)
Tithes / Offerings
Song of Gratitude
The Word of God spoken (Preaching)
The Word of God displayed (Sacraments)
Song of Response
Doxology of Praise
Benediction (Scripture text)
God speaks in calling us to worship, we respond with prayer; he speaks in greeting us with a word of blessing, we respond with song; he speaks by instructing us in his will for us, we respond in confession and repentance; he speaks by assuring us of forgiveness, we respond in prayer and by giving our offerings; he speaks to us in Word and Sacrament, we respond with gratitude in song and he sends us out, not with a mere dismissal, but with his benediction as his pilgrims. Through and through, there is dialogue, and our responses are only appropriate to what the LORD has already conveyed to us in his Word through his appointed messenger. This is why the Lord constantly instructed his prophets to speak, "only what the Lord has commanded" (Ex. 7:2), as worship begins and ends with Word of God. The same is true for the pastor today.
Now consider the Saddleback model:
Ready to Worship? Worship Leader
Praise Music -20-30 Minutes
Welcome by Praise Leader
TOPICALLY DRIVEN MESSAGE DETERMINED BY THE PASTOR, NOT the TEXT
Word of God Forced into Pastor's Topic --->
Now who is absent here? The one element on the God-side if often manipulated by the pastor as he imposes his topic on the text. The Saddleback model claims to have a real worship experience in which we actually meet God. Does the above order of worship show this? An honest assessment of the service shows that Word and Sacrament, the primary means of grace, are not central. The man-side is full with practices more appropriate to the theater than the worship of a holy God.
When a church begins worship with the first twenty minutes of praise music, all you have done is falsely elevate the people's emotions; there has been no place given to have the truth "as it is in Jesus" be our guiding light. Our singing is not a means of grace. Music is a response from us to the grace given to us. We often begin worship with the wrong assumption that real uplifting worship elevates us to God first through music, instead of God graciously condescending to us in Word and Sacrament. This is wrong; this is backwards. Our praise is a response to his nearness to us in the Word spoken.
So, what are you receiving every Sunday?