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Guidelines for New Testament Worship

December 23rd, 2007

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth , for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”

(John 4:23-24)

Most would agree that it matters how one worships (John 4:23-24). Still, the guidelines for New Testament worship are being challenged today by many would-be followers of the Lord.

Five prominent and seductive areas in which Christian worship is being displaced today include:

1. Non-verifiable worship (“Now, where’s that in the NT?”)
2. Talent -based worship (“Who gets to go to the mic?”)
3. Entertainment based worship (mechanical; clapping; etc.)
4. Validation object (God or Man?)
5. Feedback (Effectiveness is marked by 2,3,4 above)

What is the scriptural source of authority for worship? If it is older than the NT, it is too old (Heb. 8:8-13). If it is newer than the New Testament, it is too modern (Heb.12:28-29). Authority derives from Jesus (Matt. 28:18). So, if worship is not “in Jesus name”—that is, by his authority, it cannot be legitimate (see Col. 3:17).

In contrast, NT worship is scripturally verifiable; privileged not talent based; heart based rather than hearer based; directed to God not man; and feedback comes from the Lord—his word-based will.

– Robert M. Housby

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