Ministry of Worship

This is the course I am taking at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Our main texts for this class include: With Reverance and Awe by D.G. Hart and John R. Muether, Worship Reformed According to Scripture by Hughes Oliphant Old, and The Lord’s Day by Joseph A. Pipa, and Old Light on New Worship by John Price. These works are to be read for the class in the order that I have them listed here. One thing is for sure about this term, while I have less “work” to do per week the reading has doubled. This thankfully, does not present too much of a problem for me as I am a quick reader with the uncanny ability to comprehend what it is that I have read. The book I am most looking forawrd to read is the book by Joey Pipa on the Sabbath. I have always had misgivings about the laxity that most treat the Sabbath and would like to receive a more thorough understanding of Christian Sabbath. Also of interest is the work by John Price, especially since RPTS is the seminary for the RPCNA. It will be very interesting when we get to the part of the course where the professor explained in the first class he will present a defense (using the Price book and some of his own writings on the subject) of Exclusive Psalmody and non-instrumentals in worship. This should be a fascinating class.

Here, as promised, is a couple selections from a main text:

“We worship God because God created us to worship him. Worship is at the center of our existence, at the heart of our reason for being. God created us to be in his image-an image that would reflect his glory. In fact the whole creation was brought into existence to reflect the divine glory.”

Hughes Oliphant Old, “Worship Reformed According to Scripture” pg. 1

“If you listen carefully to current debates, you will encounter rhetoric that is strange for Reformed Christians. Here are some comments we have heard, none of which is terribly unusual:

  • “I like a church thats is casual, where I know I can go and relax during worship”
  • “I don’t always enjoy my church’s worship, but that’s okay. I know it will be different next week.”
  • “I’m tired of the barrenness of worship-I’m looking for something with more beauty.”
  • “Worship is ultimately a matter of taste, and there is no accounting for that.”
  • “If there is one thing you can say about our worship, it’s not boring!”

These popular sentiments all remind us that there is significant confusion about the nature, purpose, and practice of worship. This confusion extends to the Reformed community, and it underscores the urgency of recovering a biblical view of worship.

D.G. Hart and John R. Muether, “With Reverence and Awe” pg.11-12

A Decision Has Been Made

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth my wife and I have decided that it would be best for me to go to Erskine Theological Seminary to pursue a Th.M. Lots of things went into making this decision including:

Theology (Erskine is committed to the Reformed Faith, Presbyterian Polity, and Infallibility)

Location (Wife’s educational opportunities and me not wanting to live in a big city)

Education (Erskine is well respected and the Faculty is top-notch)

Chapel
(Erskine requires students to attend chapel and gives them class credit for it)

Th.M Program
(The Program allows me to focus on the area of study I want with ability for Full-Time Ministry)

While one could question any of the above reasons and some have their drawbacks (like work opportunities for me and my wife) and seem contradictory (as I do not attend chapel here at PTS so why I would want it to be mandatory may seem strange) after examing all the options the Th.M program at Erskine offers both the educational and structural integrity I am looking for in a seminary. Any comments, questions, and/or critiques are more than welcome. I will answer anything you want.